Target: Kuwait Central Prison
Goal: Release Kuwait teacher sentenced to 20 months in prison for “offensive” political comments
Sara al-Drees, a human rights teacher in Kuwait, has been sentenced to 20 months in prison for the political comments she made concerning the government and its officials. She was convicted with the charges of offending Kuwait’s emir, and misusing her mobile device by sending tweets that authorities considered offensive. Unfortunately over the past year Kuwait authorities have arrested and prosecuted citizens who made peaceful protests and comments concerning the government. The wave of arrests is due to a political crisis between the government and its political opposition. The corruption has spread to the police force, who rounded up politicians, online activists, journalists and any other citizens who said anything offensive.
Offending the emir is actually considered a crime in Kuwait.
In criminal court Sara al-Dress admitted that the four tweets she sent were hers. The first tweet concerned a protest that led to an aggressive response by the government and more arrests. “What’s taking place now is a shame on Kuwait’s history. Damn this era! The curse of Allah shall rest on the oppressors!” Her second tweet was in reference to the ruling family, “We loved you as a part of Kuwait’s history, rejecting violations by some of you, but we now feel that you are spongers imposed on us by our constitution.” Her third tweet was towards the emir, “He is a wonderful orator, telling us about an ideal society where an individual would sleep, without the fear of getting clamped down by someone who is a great placid actor before the cameras, and tyrant behind the scenes!” And lastly her fourth tweet referenced the conditions of her country, “This is sort of making fool of the people and treating them with disregard, as if they are all stupid and should not oppose the government. Hear and obey even if you were oppressed in broad daylight. The people are insulted throughout their own law.”
Ironically, Sara al-Dress is a high school teacher who teaches about human rights under the Kuwait Constitution. Kuwait’s penal code states that the maximum sentence a person who publicly “objects to the rights and authorities of the emir or who faults him” can be sentenced to five years in prison. This law is in direct violation of the international free speech treaties that Kuwait is a part of.
It is absolutely ridiculous that a human rights teacher is in jail for her opinions, opinions that were placed on Twitter. She was practicing something that in her country is a right, but because of one foolish law, she and other activists are thrown in jail. Sign this petition and demand for her immediate release.
Dear Kuwait Central Prison,
I am writing to demand the immediate release of human rights teacher Sara al-Drees. Freedom of speech is an inalienable right, and a right that has been given by law through Kuwait’s international treaties. By arresting and prosecuting this woman, you are directly violating this law.
Any law that allows anyone to be thrown in jail for five years over insulting the emir is ludicrous and insane. The populace should be allowed to voice their opinions and malcontent with the government, not tossed into a cell to rot.
Release her, the woman was merely practicing her rights to freedom of speech.
[Your Name Here]
Photo Credit: Keiya via flickr