Release Twitter activist Nasser Abul: Al-Duwaisan ‘Delay in implementation of Sharia causes graft’

KUWAIT CITY, Sept 19: Chairman of the Human Rights Committee MP Faisal Al-Duwaisan called for the release of Twitter activist Nasser Abul who has spent 105 days in prison on state security charges. The MP said that the charges have not been proven against the Kuwaiti citizen as of yet and alleged that there were deliberate attempts not to bring him to his court sessions.

Nasser Abul, who is 26 years old, was arrested on June 7 and charged with damaging the country’s interests and insulting neighboring Gulf States with messages through the microblogging site Twitter. Abul reportedly denied the allegations against him and said that his Twitter account was hacked and the messages were sent in his name. Once he became aware of this he deleted them through his IPhone, Abul allegedly stated in his defense.

Al-Duwaisan added that it is unfortunate the blogger has remained in detention for such a long period while others are left by security forces to insult authorities as well as religious symbols and sects. He said that the unequal treatment and discrimination makes one wonder if there are attempts to chase certain entities while ignoring others.

Al-Duwaisan said that it is a mistake to believe the legislative authority will remain silent on this type of discrimination and that it is a shame to taint Kuwait’s human rights history, which has never included prisoners of conscience, with such a case. Especially after Amnesty International has called for the immediate release of Nasser Abul, he noted.

Amnesty International reiterated its call for the release of the Kuwaiti blogger on Sept 16 with a public statement. The organization revealed that it wrote to the Kuwaiti Minister of Justice on Sept 9 requesting urgent clarification concerning the reason and legal grounds for Abul’s continuing imprisonment, but is yet to receive a response.

On the basis of the information available to it, Amnesty International announce that it believes Nasser Abul to be a prisoner of conscience detained for peacefully exercising his right to freedom of expression and has been calling for his immediate and unconditional release.

The NGO quoted Article 36 of Kuwait’s Constitution which states: “Freedom of opinion shall be guaranteed. Every person shall have the right to express and propagate his opinion verbally, in writing or otherwise, in accordance with the conditions and procedures specified by law”.

Al-Duwaisan urged the government not to take part in political settlements and requested Minister of Justice, Dr Mohammed Al-Afasi, to reply to Amnesty International’s appeal. Supporters of Nasser Abul and his family have announced that they will protest in front of the Ministry of Justice on Tuesday and, for his part, MP Saleh Ashour warned that he will grill the Minister of Interior if Abul does not appear in court on Tuesday.

On a similar note, MP Hassan Jowhar forwarded questions to the Minister of Interior, Sheikh Ahmed Al-Humoud, requesting him for information on the number and names of bloggers, Twitter commentators, and social-networking users who have been summoned by various MoI departments for questioning. Jowhar said that he has received information that the MoI has been conducting these questionings since January 2010. He asked the minister if the users have been summoned after official complaints were made against them.

Furthermore, the Shiite MP Faisal Al-Duwaisan commented that he welcomes the upcoming scheduled rally organized by youth activists to as it will include demands that are supported by the constitution. He said that he supports steps to reform the legislative and executive authorities and that call for democracy and reviving Kuwait’s economy. However, he added, the protest should not seek to defame political figures and entities without evidence.

Regarding the legislative financial scandal, Al-Duwaisan revealed that he will disclose his financial status in the upcoming days and welcomes those interested to review the documents.
Meanwhile, opposition MP Daifallah Buramiyah stated that the implementation of Islamic Sharia in Kuwait was delayed for so long and has resulted in the rampant corruption which the country is now forced to deal with. He said that it is necessary to implement Sharia and that there should be no further delays as the conventional laws have failed to combat corruption.

Buramiyah added that the Kuwaiti people agreed with political authorities in a Jeddah conference following the Iraqi invasion to implement Islamic Sharia. Therefore, the Kuwaiti government formed a committee in 1991 to continue in that path, he said; however the government has continuously failed to take action on the committee’s recommendations and reports throughout the 20 years.

Buramiyah continued that the current corruption scandal involving members of parliament can only be resolved through reformation of the government and its laws to adhere to Islamic principles. He said that the continuation of the National Assembly and the government in that state will not be accepted as they are the supporters of corruption. Buramiyah said that he will coordinate with his colleagues to work towards reforming Article 2 of the Constitution in order to save the country.

By: Nihal Sharaf

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