Torture in  [Kuwait]  [other countries]
Human Trafficking in  [Kuwait]  [other countries]
Street Children in  [Kuwait]  [other countries]
Child Prostitution in  [Kuwait]  [other countries]

Torture by Police, Forced Disappearance

& Other Ill Treatment

In the early years of the 21st Century                                                                  

State of Kuwait

Kuwait is a small, rich, relatively open economy with self-reported crude oil reserves of about 104 billion barrels - 8% of world reserves. Petroleum accounts for nearly half of GDP, 95% of export revenues, and 80% of government income.   [The World Factbook, U.S.C.I.A. 2009]


Description: Description: Kuwait

CAUTION:  The following links have been culled from the web to illuminate the situation in Kuwait.  Some of these links may lead to websites that present allegations that are unsubstantiated or even false.  No attempt has been made to validate their authenticity or to verify their content.

*** ARCHIVES ***

Kuwait urged to probe torture claims of detained bidoon

Agence France-Presse AFP, 2 April 2014

[accessed 3 April 2014]

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 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.

Cops sentenced to death over torture

Agence France-Presse AFP, 17 June 2013

[accessed 18 June 2013]

Kuwait’s supreme court on Monday sentenced to death two police officers convicted of torturing a citizen to death, overturning terms of life imprisonment issued by lower courts.

The court jailed four other officers for 15 years each and a fifth for two years, and also ordered their dismissal from the police force, according to a written verdict.   Two other policemen were each fined 75 dinars, while the remaining 11 defendants were acquitted, including two foreigners who worked at the police station.

All 20 defendants were charged with torturing four detainees in January 2011. One of the victims, 35-year-old Mohammad Ghazzai Al Mutairi, died of his injuries.   The four were tortured at a location in the desert and later at a police station, where they were accused of merchandising alcohol — a charge that was proven false.

The incident caused shock in Kuwait and led to the resignation of former interior minister Shaikh Jaber Khaled Al Sabah, a member of the ruling family.   A parliamentary investigation panel at the time found that Mutairi had apparently been subjected to severe torture for six days, including three days in a remote desert location.

The state of the world's human rights

Amnesty International AI, Annual Report 2013

[accessed 26 Jan 2014]

TORTURE AND OTHER ILL-TREATMENT - Legislation halving the maximum period of police custody without a court order from four days to two was enacted in July.

Reports suggested that torture or other ill-treatment may have been a factor in the death of Nawaf al-Azmi, one of five reported cases of deaths in custody.

On 24 December, an Appeal Court upheld the sentences, including two life sentences, of police officers involved in the death in custody of Mohammad Ghazzai al-Maimuni al-Mutairi in 2011. Two other officers were fined; all were dismissed from the police.

Conclusions and recommendations of the Committee against Torture

U.N. Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment  -- Doc. CAT/C/KWT/CO/2 (2011)

[accessed 2 March 2013]

Fundamental legal safeguards

8. While noting that the Code of Criminal Procedure (17/60) and the Prison Regulation Act (26/1962) contain provisions providing some legal safeguards to detainees such as the right to have access to a lawyer, to notify a relative, to be informed about the charges laid against them and to appear before a judge within a time limit in accordance with international standards, the Committee notes with concern that these provisions are little respected. In addition, while noting that article 75 of the Code of Criminal Procedure guarantees to an accused person the right to hire a lawyer to defend him or her and attend the interrogation session, the Committee is concerned that the lawyers may only speak with the permission of the investigator (art. 2).

The State party should promptly take effective measures to ensure that all detainees are afforded, in practice, all fundamental legal safeguards from the very outset of the detention, including the rights to have prompt access to a lawyer and an independent medical examination, to notify a relative, to be informed of their rights at the time of detention, including about the charges laid against them, and to appear before a judge within a time limit in accordance with international standards.

Monitoring and inspection of places of detention

9. The Committee takes note of the statement in the replies to the list of issues that, according to the Judiciary Reorganization Act (23/1990), Act No. 26 of 1962 and article 56 of decree-law No. 23 of 1990, the Kuwaiti legislation guarantees several types of control and supervision over prisons. However, the Committee is concerned at the lack of systematic and effective monitoring of all places of detention, including regular and unannounced visits to such places by national and international monitors (art. 2).

The Committee calls upon the State party to establish a national system to effectively monitor and inspect all places of detention and follow up on the outcome of such systematic monitoring. This system should include regular and unannounced visits in order to prevent torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment. The State party is encouraged to accept monitoring of places of detention by relevant international mechanisms.

Emir Should Sign New Detention Bill

Human Rights Watch, New York, 14 May 2012

[accessed 3 February 2013]

“Parliament’s newly proposed law will be a significant milestone for protecting the due process rights of detainees in the country,” said Sarah Leah Whitson, Middle East director at Human Rights Watch. “Ending unlimited judicial renewals of pretrial detention will help eliminate a significant source of the abuse of detainee rights, and serve as a model for the region.”

The new law shortens the period for which a person can be detained by the police without an order from an investigator (prosecutor), from four days to 48 hours, and during that time allows the detainee to contact a lawyer.

After the 48-hour period, the new law would reduce from three weeks to 10 days the period for which an investigator can hold a detainee for investigation and allows the detainee to appeal his detention to a court. The court can renew this investigative pretrial detention for a maximum of 40 days.

If the investigator seeks to lengthen the detention for further investigation, he may do so only pursuant to a judicial order. The law clearly limits any such court-ordered extensions of detentions to a maximum of three 30-day extensions, for a maximum of three months, and allows the detainee to appear before the court to challenge the extension.

International human rights law requires detainees to be brought promptly before a judge. Pretrial detention must be the exception, not the rule, and those held in detention before trial are entitled to a trial within a reasonable time or release.

Human Rights Reports » 2005 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices

U.S. Dept of State Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, March 8, 2006

[accessed 3 February 2013]

TORTURE AND OTHER CRUEL, INHUMAN, OR DEGRADING TREATMENT OR PUNISHMENT – The law prohibits such practices; however, some police and members of the security forces reportedly abused detainees, and there were allegations of torture during interrogation. Police and security forces were more likely to inflict such abuse on noncitizens, particularly non-Gulf Arabs and Asians, than on citizens. The government stated that it investigated all allegations of abuse and punished at least some of the offenders; however, in most cases the government did not make either the findings of its investigations or punishments it imposed public.

In February a citizen journalist claimed security officers beat him with sticks after he was arrested January 5 on charges of spreading news that harmed the national interest (see section 2.a.). On May 24, six Islamic militants, whose leader died in custody (see section 1.a.), suspected of engaging in deadly gun battles with security forces in January alleged they had been tortured, including beatings to their backs and on their feet, while in police custody. On September 6, a court-appointed, independent medical commission confirmed that the suspects had scars from beatings; however, it did not indicate the presumed cause or estimated date of the injuries.

Defendants have the right to present evidence in court that they were mistreated during interrogation; however, the courts frequently dismissed abuse complaints because defendants were unable to provide physical evidence of abuse. Members of the security forces routinely concealed their identities during interrogation, complicating confirmation of abuse.

All material used herein reproduced under the fair use exception of 17 USC § 107 for noncommercial, nonprofit, and educational use.  PLEASE RESPECT COPYRIGHTS OF COMPONENT ARTICLES. 

Cite this webpage as: Patt, Prof. Martin, "Torture by Police, Forced Disappearance & Other Ill Treatment in the early years of the 21st Century- Kuwait",, [accessed <date>]



Torture in  [Kuwait]  [other countries]
Human Trafficking in  [Kuwait]  [other countries]
Street Children in  [Kuwait]  [other countries]
Child Prostitution in  [Kuwait]  [other countries]