Kuwait: Human Rights Defender Abdulhakim AlFadhli Faces Arbitrary Detention


This article is sourced from original reporting done by Front Line Defenders.

On 21 July 2019, the Kuwaiti Public Prosecutor ordered a number of Bedoon rights defenders, including Abdulhakim Al-Fadhli, to be held in detention at the State Security Bureau of Kuwait. According to fellow human rights defenders, they have been facing ill treatment in solitary confinement while awaiting completion of the investigation against them. On 29 July 2019, AlFadhli was transferred from State Security custody to the Kuwaiti Central Prison. His court hearing has been scheduled for 16 August 2019.

AlFadhli has been detained and imprisoned more than five times for his activism on behalf of Kuwait’s stateless Bedoun (he is a Bedoun himself) and other minority communities in Kuwait. He is currently serving a one year sentence. The term Bedoun, meaning “without” in Arabic, refers to the community of stateless persons, native to Kuwait, who are prohibited from obtaining any official state documents including, but not limited to birth, death or marriage certificates. AlFadhli is known for raising awareness among the Bedoon about their rights and mobilising them to engage in the political process Kuwait to secure fundamental rights that Kuwaiti citizens enjoy, including those related to education, housing, health care and political participation.

Despite being imprisoned on multiple occasions, AlFadhli’s activism has not stopped behind bars. Throughout his current imprisonment, he has protested and staged hunger strikes against the inhumane and unsanitary conditions in the Anbar 4 prison facility, where he has also been subjected to solitary confinement.

Abdulhakim is currently serving a one-year prison sentence and faces deportation upon release – a practice frequently employed historically historical in the GCC region.

The European Centre for Democracy and Human Rights (ECDHR) joins Frontline Defenders in calling upon Kuwait to uphold its human rights obligations by releasing Abdulhakim Al-Fadhli, as this arbitrary detention violates his basic rights. International actors, including the European Union, must put pressure on Kuwait to meet its human rights obligations.