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Kuwait: Authorities must halt imminent execution of seven prisoners

Responding to the news that Kuwait plans to execute seven prisoners tomorrow after a five-year hiatus in executions, Amna Guellali, Amnesty International’s Deputy Regional Director for the Middle East and North Africa, said:

“The Kuwaiti authorities must immediately halt these executions. The death penalty is a violation of the right to life and the ultimate cruel, inhuman and degrading punishment. Amnesty International opposes the death penalty in all cases without exception, regardless of the nature or circumstances of the crime, the guilt, innocence or other characteristics of the offender or the method used by the state to carry out executions.

The death penalty is a violation of the right to life and the ultimate cruel, inhuman and degrading punishment

Amna Guellali, Amnesty International

“While the Kuwaiti authorities have a duty to bring those responsible for serious crimes to justice, suspects must be tried in accordance with international law in trials that meet Kuwait’s international human rights obligations.

“Kuwait must urgently commute these and all other death sentences to prison terms and review its laws on the death penalty. The authorities must immediately establish an official moratorium on executions with a view to abolishing the death penalty entirely.”

Background:

On 14 November 2022, Counselor Mohammed Al-Duaij of the Office of Public Prosecution announced that seven individuals — four Kuwaiti men, a Syrian man, a Pakistani man and an Ethiopian woman —would be executed on 16 November, having been convicted of murder. Al-Duaij told the Kuwait daily newspaper al-Qabas that the announcement of such executions “acts as a deterrent” and that executions are “a legitimate matter for retribution”, citing a verse from the Quran.

If carried out, these executions would be the first to take place in Kuwait since 25 January 2017, when a group of seven people, including one member of the royal family, were hanged in a mass execution.