Amnesty alleges repression in Kuwait
AMNESTY International has urged Kuwait to release all political prisoners without delay, noting that the oil-rich Gulf state was at risk of sliding deeper into repression.
In a report titled “The iron fist policy: criminalisation of peaceful dissent in Kuwait”, Amnesty said that at least 94 government critics were either in jail or on trial for charges such as insulting or offending the ruler or top officials.
“Scores of peaceful critics have been arrested and imprisoned simply for speaking out against a spectre of widespread repression,” said Amnesty’s deputy director for the Middle East and North Africa, James Lynch.
“The authorities have resorted to a mesmerizingly complex web of laws in an attempt to throttle freedom of expression,” he told a press conference.
Online activists who launched a campaign on Twitter on Tuesday in solidarity with people facing prosecution said that as many as 626 Kuwaitis face criminal charges for expressing their views peacefully.
Lynch said that opposition leader and former member of parliament Mussallam al-Barrak, who is serving a two-year jail term for publicly offending the emir, faces 94 criminal prosecutions.
AFP reported Amnesty as also criticising the government for revoking the citizenship of a number of leading opposition activists including Abdullah al-Barghash, a former member of parliament, and Saad al-Ajmi, spokesman for the opposition Popular Action Movement who was later deported to Saudi Arabia.
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