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(Beirut) – Middle East and North Africa (MENA) governments can respond to the popular demands of the region’s youth for reform by implementing five changes in 2018 to arbitrary, outdated legal systems that infringe upon citizens’ rights and liberties,…
Demonstration outside Parliament on December 6, 2016, with women in white dresses and wrapped in bandages, calling for the repeal of article 522 of the penal code.
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(Beirut) – Gulf governments have sustained their campaigns to silence peaceful critics during the first half of 2017, Human Rights Watch said today, updating an interactive website, created in November 2016, featuring targeted human rights activists. On…
Portraits of online activists in Gulf states.
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This week, the European Union’s top court once again found that blanket data retention mandates are hostile to privacy and democratic freedoms, and incompatible with EU law. Such mandates require service providers to store data on all of the provider’s…
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(Beirut) – Gulf governments have attempted to silence peaceful critics in response to a wave of online activism in recent years, Human Rights Watch said in an interactive website that began operating today. The governments have responded to online…
Portraits of online activists in Gulf states.
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(Beirut) – Kuwait’s new cybercrime law includes far-reaching restrictions on Internet-based speech that breach Kuwait’s obligations under international human rights law, Human Rights Watch said today. The National Assembly, which approved the law on June…
A lock icon, signifying an encrypted Internet connection, is seen on a browser in a photo illustration.
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(Updates highlighted in bold) Background There have been some encouraging reforms in Kuwait since its last UPR in 2010. For example, in January 2013 a judicial decision granted women the right to apply for posts as prosecutors, allowing them to…
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Today Julian Assange, the Wikileaks publisher, begins his third year confined in the Ecuadorean embassy in London. He fled there, receiving political asylum, when Sweden sought his extradition to answer sexual assault allegations. Although both Assange…
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(Beirut) – Kuwait’s Constitutional Court dealt a blow to free speech on December 2, 2013, in a case involving a journalist’s Twitter comments.The court rejected a challenge to article 25 of the penal code, which sets prison sentences of up to five years…
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(Sanaa) – A Kuwaiti court on November 18, 2013, sentenced a Kuwaiti man to five years in prison for a Twitter comment about Sunni/Shia theology. The sentence in the Kuwaiti Court of First Instance against Musab Shamsah was the second in less than a month…
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The Stoic philosopher Epictetus warned of the dangers of casually bad-mouthing the ruler in ancient Rome: “A soldier, dressed like a civilian, sits down by your side, and begins to speak ill of Caesar, and then you too, just as though you had received…
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(Beirut) – A Kuwaiti appeal court’s decision to uphold a 20-month prison sentence on a teacher for political comments she made on Twitter further erodes the right to free speech in Kuwait. On July 17, 2013, the court of appeals confirmed the conviction…
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(Beirut) – The Kuwaiti authorities should drop criminal charges against dozens of online activists, journalists, and politicians for legitimately exercising their rights to freedom of expression. The authorities should also withdraw charges and overturn…
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(Kuwait City) – The acquittal of five Kuwaiti online activists charged with “offending the emir” could help ensure that Kuwaitis can freely express critical political opinions Muhammad al-Ajmi, Faris al-Balhan, Abdul-Aziz al-Mutairi, Fahd al-Jufaira and…
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(Kuwait City) – Human rights conditions deteriorated in Kuwait in 2012 during an ongoing political crisis, Human Rights Watch said today at a news conference for its World Report 2013. The security forces used what appeared to be excessive force to…
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(Beirut, June 7, 2012) – A 10-year prison sentence for criticizing the kings of Saudi Arabia and Bahrain and allegedly “insulting” the Prophet Mohammed on the social media site Twitter violates human rights standards. Kuwait’s Court of First Instance…
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Armed security officers wearing balaclavas led Nasser Abul, blindfolded and shackled, into a courtroom in downtown Kuwait City on July 19.  Accused of crimes against the state, he answered the judge’s questions from a wood-and-metal cage in the courtroom…
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(Beirut) - The Kuwaiti government should immediately release two Kuwaiti men detained over internet postings criticizing the rulers of Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, and Kuwait, Human Rights Watch said today. State security authorities detained and investigated…