Kuwait revokes citizenship of 10 citizens

13 August 2014

Cabinet includes outspoken cleric in crackdown on government opponents

The Kuwaiti cabinet has revoked the citizenship of 10 citizens including Nabil al-Awadi, an outspoken Islamic cleric with a history of criticising the government.

In its meeting on 11 August, the cabinet decided the individuals would see their citizenship revoked under article 13 of the country’s citizenship law.

This latest crackdown on government opponents comes after five other Kuwaitis had their citizenships revoked on 21 July, including Ahmed Jaber Kadhim al-Shammari, the owner of Kuwait’s Al-Youm satellite channel and the Al-Alam al-Yaoum newspaper.

Last month, the cabinet adopted what it described as an “iron fist policy” against those it sees as attempting to undermine the stability of the country after several anti-government protests.

The act of revoking citizenship has been critised by human rights groups, who are calling it an “assault on the right to free speech”.

“No government has the right to strip away its people’s citizenship simply because it disapproves of them, their opinions, or their actions,” says Joe Stork, deputy Middle East and North Africa director at Human Rights Watch, an international non-governmental organisation.

The cabinet’s latest decision was reported by Kuwait News Agency (KUNA), which functions as a branch of the country’s Information Ministry. It reported the cabinet’s latest decision, saying the 10 individuals covered by the ruling had been naturalised citizens but failed to meet requirements for the status.

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