Last updated: 2 April, 2014

Kuwait urged to probe torture claims of detained bidoon

Human Rights Watch called on Kuwait Wednesday to investigate allegations of police torture of three stateless men detained for taking part in protests.

Prosecutors have rejected demands by brothers Abdulhakim and Abdulnasser al-Fadhli and Abdullah al-Enezi to investigate, New York-based HRW said.

“Instead of ordering an investigation when these defendants said they had been tortured, the prosecutor ordered them back to detention,” said Eric Goldstein, deputy Middle East and North Africa director at HRW.

“When a prosecutor ignores torture allegations, it sends the message to police that abuse will go unpunished,” he said.

The three men were arrested late February for taking part in a protest by stateless people, known in Kuwait as bidoon, to demand Kuwaiti citizenship and other basic rights.

Five others were detained for two weeks and released on bail.

The Fadhli brothers, who have been arrested and tried at least twice in the past two years, face charges of instigating illegal protests and assaulting police, while Enezi is accused of insulting the Gulf state’s ruling emir.

Abdulhakim told HRW from jail that they were repeatedly beaten by police and authorities had turned down their requests for a medical examination.

Bidoon were born and raised in Kuwait and claim the right to Kuwaiti citizenship.

But the government says only 34,000 of an estimated 110,000 stateless qualify for consideration and that the rest hold other nationalities.