Kuwait: Government Continues to Target and Incarcerate Bidoon Community

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Following the death of Ayed Hamad Moudath and the ensuing protests in early July, Kuwaiti authorities have continued to target and arrest Bidoon activists. Since 11 July 2019, at least 17 Bidoon individuals have been arrested without judicial warrant.

On July 23, prominent activist and journalist Hamoud AlRabah was kidnapped while he was at dinner with his wife in Kuwait City.  He was believed to be targeted due to tweets in defense of the civil and human rights of the Bidoon community.

A day later, on July 24, two more members of the Bidoon community, activist Khalifa AlAnzi and journalist Reda AlFadhli were arrested and in the case of AlFadhli, forcibly disappeared.

Many of the activists in prison have been beaten before their arrest and later tortured in prison. One such report referred specifically to Mohammed AlAnzi who was taken to the desert and buried in the sand, with the exception of his head. He was then beaten until he needed multiple stitches due to a large wound in his head.

It is common practice that the State Security Bureau attempts to hide evidence of torture by providing separate clothes or they clean the clothes worn at the time of detention for detainees to wear to the Public Prosecution Office. Or in severe cases of torture, they deny any visits or public appearances until the individual is adequately healed so that the marks can be concealed.

Most Bidoon activists have also been denied their right to legal counsel and have had their detention periods extended as of 29 July 2019 by the Public Prosecutor’s office, approved by the Magistrate’s Court.

The targeting and detention of the Bidoon community in Kuwait is a violation of fundamental human rights, as well as the Kuwaiti constitution which permits the right to peaceful assembly.

The European Centre for Democracy and Human Rights (ECDHR) condemns the torture and detention of Bidoon activists, and calls on the European Union to call for the release of all activists and end the neglect and abuse of the Bidoon community.