CAIRO (dpa) – Human Rights Watch on Sunday condemned Kuwait for stripping several dissidents of their citizenship, leaving them and in some cases their families without any nationality.
Three government critics have been among 33 people deprived of their citizenship in a series of cabinet decisions since July, the New York-based rights group said.
Those affected included the spokesman of prominent opposition politician Musallam al-Barrak, the owner of an independent newspaper and television station, and a hardline cleric who raised funds for Islamist rebels in Syria.
Ahmad Jabr al-Shammari, owner of the al-Yom newspaper and television station, lost his citizenship in July after his outlets were closed for “defying a prosecutor-ordered media blackout about an investigation into an alleged plot by senior officials to overthrow the government,” Human Rights Watch said.
As a result of the government order, al-Shammari and his four children were left stateless and he lost his media outlets and other businesses in the country, the group said.
The rights group said it had “interviewed activists, journalists and foreign diplomats, all of whom said the revocations were having a chilling effect.”
“The Kuwaiti authorities seem to think they can use the cover of the nationality law to target their critics and deter dissent,” said Nadim Houry, deputy Middle East director at Human Rights Watch. “But Kuwait’s real message of official intimidation has rung out loud and clear.”