Kuwait’s interior ministry has announced that the assailant who stripped and assaulted an Egyptian expat, in video footage circulated on social media, is Abdullah Al-Shamri, born in 1976 and identified as bedoon (without nationality), according to an official statement issued on Sunday evening.
The bedoon residents are multi-ethnic people who are stateless and mainly based in Gulf states and Iraq. Several governments recognise them as illegal immigrants. They formed 80% to 90% of the Kuwaiti Army between the 1970s and 1980s. After the Gulf war their numbers declined, and it is now estimated that the bedoon account for 40% of the current Kuwaiti Army.
“State security apparatuses arrested Mohamed Ewais, an Egyptian national born in 1985, who confessed that he shot and published the video after a dispute over finances erupted with the bedoon who assaulted the Egyptian national Ashraf Abou El-Yameen, born in 1981, who was subjected to humiliation and inhumane treatment,” the statement read.
The incident of the assault against Abou El-Yameen dates back a year and a half ago. He worked in a mobile phone shop owned by Al-Shamri who discovered that a robbery took place inside his store, the statement clarified.
The Egyptian national who was assaulted was summoned by the Kuwaiti authorities to begin investigations into the incident with the two others who will be defendants in the case.
The Egyptian Foreign Ministry received confirmation from security apparatuses in Kuwait regarding the detention of the perpetrators, according to an official statement issued by the ministry on Monday.
“We put our confidence in the Kuwaiti security apparatuses, which quickly and efficiently managed to arrest the assailant who appeared in the video footage in order to refer him to trial. The ministry will follow up on investigations as Egyptians’ dignity and safety is our priority,” assistant to the foreign minister Hisham Naqib said in the statement.
When the video was circulated on social media earlier this week, many Egyptians claimed that the Egyptian in the video was being punished by his Kuwaiti kafeel (sponsor) after mistakenly exchanging an undamaged mobile phone for a damaged one at the shop where he worked. The shop is believed to be owned by the Kuwaiti sponsor, according to several Facebook accounts of Egyptian expats in Kuwait.
The kafala or sponsorship system is used to monitor migrant labourers, a large portion of whom work in construction and in the domestic sector in Gulf countries, such as Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain, and Qatar.
In 2015, an Egyptian expat Ahmed Atef was killed and two Egyptian nationals and one Kuwaiti citizen were seriously injured, allegedly as a result of a fight between Egyptian workers and two Kuwaitis in an electronics shop in Rehab Mall in Kuwait.
The fight broke out between a group of Kuwaitis and an Egyptian expat worker, Mohamed Amin, when they purportedly differed over a set price of a PlayStation game console. The two Kuwaitis wanted to buy the console at half the price, but Amin refused. They then reportedly began to insult him and Amin asked them to leave the shop.