Freedom for Kuwaitis Imprisoned For Protesting Against Government Corruption
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It is with a heavy heart that we must face this reality during the month that Kuwaitis celebrate their Independence and Liberation Day. A month full of celebration is taken away from families and children while their loved ones are imprisoned for protesting against the corruption that has crippled their country. Kuwait's democracy, once a beacon of hope in the region, has been further deteriorated by the systemic harassment and imprisonment of activists.
This is a call for the immediate release of 44 people (number subject to change as there are more that will turn themselves in) that have peacefully demonstrated against corruption at Kuwait’s Parliament in 2011 and have been imprisoned since November 27, 2017.
Rashed Alfadala, one of the imprisoned, announced a hunger strike. As of 14th of February, 2018 15:00, has been on hunger strike for 48 hours. Three others have joined: Sulaiman BinJassem, Dr. Mishari Almutairi, and Faris Albalhan. We expect more to join the hunger strike.
Human Rights Watch has testified that this detainment is to intimidate any one who wishes to protest authority and a retaliation against those who have. Their sentencing has been determined as legally VOID by the prosecutor of the court of cassation and yet they are still not released! This only proves that this sentencing is political and an immoral punishment.
80 days in jail and counting for a conviction that is legally void.
We call on all those that fight for freedom of expression, right of protest, and right of due process and fair trial to add your voice to ours to demand the following:
1. The immediate release of the defendants.
2. The right of due process of the law without pressure on the judiciary.
YOUR VOICE MATTERS. Your signature can help families see their husbands, sons, and brothers back home.
**A Brief Timeline**
December 9, 2013: The First Degree Court acquits the defendants of all charges.
December 18, 2013: The State Prosecution files for an appeal of the court’s decision
November 27, 2017: The court of Appeals denies the defense to present eye witnesses and evidence to the court and strikes down a 5-10 years sentencing. The residing judge on the case questioned his decision by declaring: “If I am right then I shall be blessed twice but if I am wrong I shall be blessed once”. A clear admission of his uncertainty around the legality of the verdict.
November 28, 2017: Defendants turn themselves in and many detained like criminals a few hours after the court sentence read out. Case is taken to final level of the court system: Court of Cassation.
January 29, 2018: The Cassation Prosecution issue a statement that says the sentence by the court of appeals includes judicial errors and is therefore legally VOID.
February 4, 2018: Presiding Judge of the Cassation Court steps down from the case without announcing reasons behind decision. This has increased speculation of exploitation and pressure on the judiciary.
February 5, 2018: The court refuses to release the defendants on bail, and they continue their detainment after 71 days in detention.
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