Kuwait revokes more citizenships citing state security

A panorama of Kuwait City.

A panorama of Kuwait City.

Kuwait has revoked the citizenship of 10 people, including activists, the government said Monday in the second such move in less than a month as part of a crackdown on dissent.

The decision announced after a cabinet meeting did not identify those affected by the decision, but local media said they were opposition figures.

The cabinet said the decision was based on a provision in the nationality law that allows citizenship to be revoked of those who threaten Kuwait’s security, social order or economy.

Local media said among those affected were activist Nabil al-Awadhi, who is close to the Muslim Brotherhood, and Saad al-Ajami, a former journalist turned spokesman for the opposition Popular Action Movement.

On July 21, Kuwait revoked the citizenship of several people, including the owner of a pro-opposition television station and newspaper, Ahmad Jabr al-Shammari, and former Islamist opposition MP Abdullah al-Barghash along with his family members.

Human Rights Watch denounced the action in a statement on Sunday as a “crackdown on people seeking reform.”

‘Downward step’

“No government has the right to strip away its people’s citizenship simply because it disapproves of them, their opinions, or their actions,” said HRW’s Joe Stork.

“This is yet another downward step in Kuwait’s assault on the right to free speech,” he added, urging the government to reverse its decision.

Last month, the cabinet said the citizenships of Barghash and his relatives were revoked because they had been granted on the basis of false information.

OPEC member Kuwait has a native population of 1.25 million, a large number of them through naturalisation, and hosts 2.8 million foreigners.

Unlike other Gulf states, it has a democratically-elected parliament.


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