Target: His Highness Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad al-Jaber Al Sabah, Amir of Kuwait
Goal: Free an activist arrested while peacefully monitoring a rally for human rights violations
Kuwaiti human rights activist Sulaiman al-Jassem has been arrested on charges of “participating in an illegal gathering” and “failing to obey police orders to disperse.” These charges infringe upon his freedom of expression. Sign the petition and demand that he be freed immediately.
Al-Jassem is a member of the National Committee for Monitoring Violations (NCMV). On the day of his arrest, he was monitoring a rally staged in solidarity with ousted parliamentarian Musallam al-Barrak. The rally drew about 8,000 people at its peak, but eventually petered out to around 300. As the rally finished and al-Jassem walked back to his car, he was arrested by police, who shot him repeatedly with rubber bullets and punched him several times.
He is currently standing trial for “participating in an illegal gathering” and “failing to obey police orders to disperse,” Amnesty International reports. Al-Jassem’s allegations of torture have been dismissed by the state as not having enough evidence to support them (the officers who beat him were wearing hoods and could not be identified), and his lawyer was “not allowed by the court to question the prosecution witness,” Amnesty says.
Sulaiman al-Jassem has risked his life to protect others from human rights violations; it is now time for us to stand up and help him. Sign the petition and demand that the charges against Sulaiman al-Jassem be dropped immediately and that he be guaranteed safety from torture and ill-treatment. Call for a new and thorough investigation into the torture he allegedly suffered, and remind Kuwait that freedom of expression is a universally recognized human right.
I am writing to express my deep concern for the well-being of human rights defender Sulaiman al-Jassem, a member of the National Committee for Monitoring Violations (NCMV). In the course of his work, al-Jassem was violently arrested and now faces trial on charges that severely infringe upon his internationally recognized right to freedom of expression. I urge you to drop the charges against al-Jassem and release him as soon as possible.
Al-Jassem was in attendance at the rally for Musallam al-Barrak on April 17, 2014 in his role as a monitor for NCMV. As he returned to his car in the early hours of April 18, he was set upon by police officers who shot him with rubber bullets and punched him in the face and head, according to Amnesty International. He was arrested for “participating in an illegal gathering” and “failing to obey police orders to disperse.”
Unfortunately, al-Jassem’s trial has not been any fairer than his arrest. His lawyer was not allowed to question the witness for the prosecution, and his allegations of torture were dismissed by the court as not having enough evidence to back them up, since the officers who allegedly beat him were wearing hoods.
Al-Jassem has risked his safety to ensure that others remain safe, and an unfair stint in prison accompanied by torture at the time of his arrest is a pretty poor way to repay him for his sacrifice and hard work for human rights causes. I urge you to drop the charges against al-Jassem and release him unconditionally as soon as possible. In the meantime, however, I demand that he be safe from any further ill-treatment and that his allegations of torture be granted a full and impartial investigation.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Dherar AL-Rashoud via Flickr