On 27 May 2016, the Special Procedures of the United Nations Human Rights Council (HRC) published the 14th iteration of their joint communications report documenting allegations of human rights abuses from around the world. In the most recent edition of the report, the Special Procedures singled out Kuwait for sentencing – and attempting to revoke the citizenship of – a prominent human rights activist and for arbitrarily detaining and torturing eight Kuwaiti citizens. The report also criticized the United Arab Emirates (UAE) for attempting to extradite a prominent Emirati human rights defender in Indonesia. ADHRB has compiled summaries of each of these cases; you may find them below.
- Abdullah Fairouz Abdullah Abd al-Kareem’s sentencing and citizenship – The Special Rapporteurs on freedom of opinion and expression, peaceful assembly and association, and human rights defenders wrote of concern regarding the Kuwaiti government’s actions against Mr. Abudullah Fairouz Abdullah Abd al-Kareem. The Kuwaiti Criminal Investigation Department arrested Mr. Al-Kareem, a prominent human rights defender and member of Kuwaiti Human Rights Society, on charges of insulting the judiciary. In January 2014, Kuwaiti courts sentenced Mr. Al-Kareem to five years’ imprisonment. Kuwaiti officials have also initiated the process to revoke his citizenship. The Special Rapporteurs expressed concern that Mr. Al-Kareem’s sentencing and imprisonment appear to solely relate to his human rights activities and legitimate exercise of his freedom of expression and association.
- Arbitrary Detention and Torture – The Special Rapporteurs on freedom of religion, independence of judges and lawyers, torture, and physical and mental health wrote of concern regarding arbitrary detention, torture, forced confessions, and acts of religious intolerance taken against eight Kuwaiti citizens, all Shia Muslims. The victims included Mr. Hasan Al Attar, Mr. Jassim Mohamed Ghadanfari, Mr. Abdul Mohsen AlShatti, Mr. Hasan Ali Jamal, Mr. Mohamed Jasim al-Meraj, Mr. Hasan Abdulhadi Hajih, Mr. Mohammed al-Husaini, and Mr. Abdulla al-Husaini. In two cases, Kuwaiti officials prevented the Shia Muslim prisoners from practicing their religion in detention.
United Arab Emirates
- Attempting to Extradite Mr. Abdulrahman Khalifa Salem Binsobeih – The Special Rapporteurs on human rights, freedom of opinion and expression, and torture wrote of concern regarding the risk of extradition of Mr. Abdulrahman Khalifa Salem Binsobeih from Indonesia to the United Arab Emirates. Mr. Binsobeih is a human rights defender and former executive director of Al Islah, a civil society that promotes political reform in the UAE. On 2 July 2013, Emirati courts sentenced Mr. Binsobeih in absentia, along with other Al Islah members, to 15 years’ imprisonment on charges of establishing, organizing, and running a clandestine organization to overthrow the government. Indonesian officials arrested Mr. Binsobeih on 2 October 2015 and immediately afterwards, the Emirati Embassy in Indonesia requested his extradition. While Indonesian officials initially denied the request, it is alleged that Emirati authorities continue to seek Mr. Binsobeih’s extradition.