Jassim Al Qames and Bashar Al-Sayegh were arrested and tortured by the Kuwaiti secret police. The police’s grounds for apprehending the two Kuwaitis was that someone had anonymously posted on their blog, Al Jareeda, a negative comment concerning the Emir of Kuwait, Shaikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah. Although the bloggers quickly removed the comment within fifteen minutes, the police noticed the comment and acted upon it. Therefore, the police apprehended Jassim Al Qames forced him to sign a document of consent, which he was prohibited from reading. Bashar Al-Sayegh was not apprehended.
This action by the Kuwaiti police is deeply concerning because the men running the blog were not connected to the anonymous commenter, rather they only hosted the website where this person decided to criticize the Emir. This action by the government encroaches on the country’s journalism, since it makes journalists accountable for their readers’ reactions. This increased burden on will make journalists and bloggers more hesitant to publish information concerning volatile issues.
Also, two Egyptian laborers recently complained that they were tortured by the Kuwaiti police. The men were laborers arrested for forging their work papers. The Egyptians claim that the Kuwaiti police’s interrogation techniques included the police pouring sulfuric acid on the men’s bodies, including the genital organs. The Egyptians’ lawyer produced a forensic report, which allegedly supports the men’s claim.
The local Egyptian papers have tried to appeal to the local Egyptian authorities to investigate the Kuwaiti police action. The Egyptian newspapers have covered the story closely to create a strong public reaction through publishing photos of the men’s burns. The probable long term purpose of the independent Egyptian media’s coverage is the hope that this review of the Kuwaiti interrogation policies may lead to reforming Egyptian police’s torture techniques, by providing a safe way to criticize police brutality.
International Herald Tribune. Kuwait releases Egyptian who claimed police torture. 30 August 2007.
Almasry Alyoum. Kuwaiti Police Torture Two Egyptians with Sulfuric Acid. 23 August 2007.
Kuwait Times. Torture, a way of life? 24 August 2007.
Social Work Society of Kuwait Blog. BASHAR AL SAYEGH AND JASSIM AL QAMES HARASSED AND ATTACKED BY SECRET POLICE IN KUWAIT. 19 August 2007.