Kuwait:UN review must halt re-legitimization of torture and other ill-treatment

The Kuwaiti authorities must use a review by the UN Committee against Torture (CAT) in Geneva from 25-26 July 2016 as an opportunity to come clean regarding the re-legitimization of torture and its use in the country’s criminal justice system, said Amnesty International.

There has been an alarming number of cases of torture or other ill-treatment reported over the past five years. From the ill-treatment of activists from Kuwait’s stateless Bidun community, detained following demonstrations in 2011 and 2012, to the use of torture in 2015 in high profile “terrorism” cases where defendants are convicted on the basis of “confessions” extracted through torture or other ill-treatment.

“Kuwait cannot hide case after case of credible allegations of torture and must take concrete steps to end its use in all circumstances,” said Drewery Dyke, Amnesty International’s Researcher on Kuwait.

“The Committee against Torture’s review is a moment to draw a line under such practices and to strive towards reforming its laws and practice in line with the standards set out in the international human rights treaties to which Kuwait is a state party.”

Allegations of torture from defendants or their families in the ‘Abdali case,  involving a cache of arms and explosives seized on a farm near the Iraqi border in August 2015, and those accused of carrying out the Imam Sadiq mosque bombing in June 2015 were not properly considered or were summarily rejected by the courts.

 In September 2015 Twitter commentator Badr Abdulaziz (known as “Chibreet Siyassi”), who was being tried on several charges including defaming the Amir and judiciary, said he was beaten and coerced into providing a “confession”.

Amnesty International’s Researcher, Drewery Dyke, is available for interviews from London on 26 July

Talking points include:

  • Re-legitimization of torture in the administration of justice
  • Allegations of excessive use of force in the policing of demonstrations
  • Cases of torture and other ill-treatment of members of the stateless Bidun community
  • Cases of enforced disappearance during and after the 1991 invasion of Kuwait by Iraqi forces
  • The death penalty

For more information on torture and other ill-treatment in Kuwait see Amnesty International’s submission to the UN Committee against Torture