|Jennifer Josef, ILGA-ASIA|
|Jennifer Josef, ILGA-ASIA|
At least ten teenagers have been arrested by the police in Kuwait for ‘satanic rituals’ as part of ‘morality’ campaigns, reports say, with LGBT people being targeted under the same umbrella of ‘vice’ and ‘immorality.’
On 8th of June, 10 adolescents, ranging from 16 to 18 years old were entrapped during a raid and the police suspects they were conducting ‘satanic rituals’ and ‘incident acts’. The Kuwaiti daily Al-Rai in addition claimed that they are also ‘suspected of homosexuality’. Kuwaiti police ‘received complaints’ the group held nightly meetings in a disused building in Al-Sharq district of Kuwait city.
During questioning the adolescents claimed they were working on a film, a claim the police dismissed as the building has no electricity and no photographic equipment was found. Brigadier General Hossein Shirazi referred the matter to the Criminal Investigation Department of Kuwait.
Al-Rai has also reported that 20 men and one woman were arrested in the areas of Salamiya and Hawalli of Kuwait city for ‘suspicious parties’; Al-Anba daily claimed the number of people arrested was 27 in several ‘suspect’ apartments where they usually meet to commit ‘immoral activities.’ Kuwaiti Times alleged that some of the people were found to be ‘intoxicated’. Al-Rai claimed that some of the suspects were arrested in previous raids and were released after signing a document that they will not repeat their ‘activities.’
The daily Al-anba reports that in other raids held yesterday against illegal migrants some were found to be conducting ‘immoral activities’ and running ‘brothels’.
Last week a municipal park restroom was closed for suspected ‘immoral activities of homosexuals’, two ‘European’ men who were sighted by the police managed to escape. Criminal investigators were assigned to “monitor the location’.
These ‘morality campaigns’ that have greatly intensified this year are ‘continuous and relentless’, a transgender Kuwaiti activist stated.
She reported that in fact ‘many of the people arrested are just having private parties, but the police allege they were engaged in prostitution, drinking, and so called “immoral activities”.
‘The laws in Kuwait allow the police to violate the principle of “innocent until proven guilty.” Charges are often fabricated and thus this is essentially an assault and violation of people’s right to dignity and a fair trial.
‘People who are arrested in such raids become social outcasts and pariahs, having no voice at all, as their most basic rights are being violated.
‘So many people in these raids are being thrown into prison without anyone listening to their plight. Some complained of abusive treatment and no human rights group here cares about this matter as they feel ashamed of handling such cases. Such organisations forget the forgetting that the right of any human being for dignity and fair trial regardless of their sex, nationality, race or sexuality.’
‘I call for human rights defenders to intervene in these cases and help stop and prevent such abuses in Kuwait in the future.’
According to the activist these ongoing ‘moral campaigns’ are an attempt by the ruling royal family to appease MPs from the Islamist parties that now have a majority in Parliament with 34 out of 50 seats.
Last month the Emir of Kuwait blocked a constitutional amendment to article 79 as to make Sharia ‘the only source’ of legislation rather than a major or main source as it is now. Nevertheless the Islamists MPs have vowed that they will not desist and continue with pressures for constitutional amendments.
On 24 April, MP Dr Adel Al-Damkhi, a member of the parliamentary committee on tackling ‘practices alien to Kuwaiti society’, proposed to set up a ‘rehab center’ to ‘treat negative phenomena alien to Kuwaiti society.’ Al-Damkhi explained that such a facility is needed ‘in light of the occasional spread of negative phenomena alien to our Kuwaiti society.’
He suggested that the center would aim ‘to promote noble values amongst Kuwaiti youth, who are the future of the country; to fight what affects the moral values of the society; and to encourage the youth to be involved in fields that serve the nation’.