Eighteen Egyptians are being held in Kuwait charged with illegal assembly. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs reported that Egypt’s consul in Kuwait, Ambassador Wael Gad, visited the detained on Friday to ensure that they were being well treated.
The Egyptians were gathered for a private celebration of the Hijri New Year. The lights and voices attracted police who entered the house and saw political banners and t-shirts. These political symbols had nothing to do with Kuwait, they were in support of the Egyptian Al-Dostour party and the Egyptian Popular Current.
In a matter of hours the police entered, rounded up the Egyptians, and had them made ready to be deported in an abrupt legal process with little or no opportunity for the accused to defend themselves.
Popular Current member Muhamed Soliman confirmed that Popular Current members were being held in Kuwait.
Speaking about those arrested from Al-Dostour, party member Ahmed Al-Hawaly said, “They were responsible for recruiting Egyptians abroad. They are part of a team that collects memberships everywhere, but they are in charge of Kuwait specifically.
Al-Hawaly said people from Al-Dostour have been working intensely to stall and overturn the deportation measures and are in contact with Kuwaiti and Egyptian officials in both countries. The Egyptians that are being held have lives in Kuwait, they have been their working for a long time, and Al-Hawaly said, “It would be a real shame if they were deported for their relationship with the party.”
Similar events took place in 2010, when Egyptians in Kuwait got in trouble for collecting signatures for Mohamed ElBaradei’s appeal for change in Hosni Mubarak’s Egypt. The charge of “political organisation” is a relatively common problem faced by Egyptian groups trying to organise in Gulf countries.
Al-Hawaly said, “I wish we could have better relations with the Gulf countries. I hope they would see that we are not meddling in their own politics. It is important for us to operate there because one of the objectives of Al-Dostour party is to keep Egyptians abroad very involved in domestic politics and have their voices heard.”