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Torture by Police, Forced Disappearance

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In the early years of the 21st Century, 2000 to 2025                                      

State of Kuwait

The Constitution prohibits torture and other forms of cruel and unusual punishment, but these protections are not always upheld. Detainees, especially Bidoon, continue to experience torture and beatings while in custody. Overcrowding and unsanitary conditions are a problem at prisons and deportation centers.   [Freedom House Country Report, 2018]


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.



If you are looking for material to use in a term-paper, you are advised to scan the postings on this page and others to see which aspects of Torture by Authorities are of particular interest to you.  You might be interested in exploring the moral justification for inflicting pain or inhumane or degrading treatment or punishment in order to obtain critical information that may save countless lives, or to elicit a confession for a criminal act, or to punish someone to teach him a lesson outside of the courtroom.  Perhaps your paper might focus on some of the methods of torture, like fear, extreme temperatures, starvation, thirst, sleep deprivation, suffocation, or immersion in freezing water.  On the other hand, you might choose to write about the people acting in an official capacity who perpetrate such cruelty.  There is a lot to the subject of Torture by Authorities.  Scan other countries as well as this one.  Draw comparisons between activity in adjacent countries and/or regions.  Meanwhile, check out some of the Term-Paper resources that are available on-line.

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2020 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices: Kuwait

U.S. Dept of State Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, 30 March 2021

[accessed 26 July 2021]


The constitution and law prohibit torture and other cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or punishment, but there continued to be reports of torture and mistreatment by police and security forces against detained members of minority groups and noncitizens.

Several noncitizens claimed police or Kuwaiti State Security (KSS) force members beat them at police checkpoints or in detention. Since 2017, at least nine foreign nationals, including one still in detention, reported credible cases of abuse or mistreatment during arrest or interrogation by the Ministry of Interior’s Drug Enforcement General Directorate. Some detainees alleged they were beaten with a wooden rod, hung upside down and beaten, or both.


According to the National Assembly’s Human Rights Committee, prisons lacked the minimum standards of cleanliness and sanitation, were overcrowded, and suffered from widespread corruption in management, resulting in prisoner safety problems and drug abuse by inmates. International observers who visited the Central Prison corroborated reports of drug use and trafficking.

Physical Conditions: Prison overcrowding continued to be a significant problem during the pandemic. Prisoners share large dormitory cells designed to accommodate 20-30 inmates. Prisoners at the facilities reported it was common for double or triple that number of prisoners to be held in one cell. Inmates incarcerated at Central Prison said the prison cells were so overcrowded that they were forced to sleep on the floor of their cells, on mattresses in the hallway outside their cells, or share beds with other inmates.


Numerous activists representing a particular group of stateless persons known as “Bidoon” reported mistreatment at the hands of authorities while in detention. There continued to be allegations from individuals that they were subjected to unlawful detention and physical and verbal abuse inside police centers and State Security detention centers. There are credible indications that police, KSS force members, and the Ministry of Interior’s Drug Enforcement General Directorate abused prisoners during arrest or interrogation. Transgender individuals have reported multiple cases of rape and physical and verbal abuse at the hands of police and prison officials.

Freedom House Country Report

2018 Edition

[accessed 13 May 2020]


The Constitution prohibits torture and other forms of cruel and unusual punishment, but these protections are not always upheld. Detainees, especially bidoon, continue to experience torture and beatings while in custody. Overcrowding and unsanitary conditions are a problem at prisons and deportation centers.

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.

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.


From an old article -- URL not available

Article was published sometime prior to 2015

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.


For current articles:: Search Amnesty International Website

[accessed 6 January 2019]

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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]

[accessed 4 July 2019]

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.

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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>]