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Kuwait gives 5-year jail sentence to activist for insulting emir

1 February 2015 19:11

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Kuwait’s lower court has handed down a 5-year prison term to a stateless activist for allegedly insulting the emir of the Persian Gulf monarchy, his lawyer says.

According to Khaled al-Kafeefa on Sunday, the activist Abdullah al-Enezi was sentenced to five years in prison for insulting the Kuwaiti ruler, a charge amounting to state security offense.

Enzi was arrested in February 2014 for attending a gathering of stateless people, known as bidoons, who called on the Kuwaiti officials to grant them citizenship. He was released three months later on a USD-1,700 bail.

Enzi later left Kuwait for a Western country in a bid to seek political asylum, his lawyer said.

Back in April 2014, Human Rights Watch urged Kuwait to launch a probe into allegations that Enzi and two other bidoons were tortured while in police detention.

Enzi’s verdict came three days after six other stateless men were also sentenced to one year in jail for staging anti-government protests and clashing with the Kuwaiti security forces.

Almost 110,000 bidoons currently live in Kuwait. The government says it can grant citizenship only to 34,000 of them.

After the end of British protectorate in Kuwait in 1961, the officials of the independent state granted citizenship only to whom they called “founding fathers” and deprived a group of people of citizenship, thus called “bidoon jinsiya” or “without nationality.”

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