Kuwait Hangs Seven People in First Executions Since 2017

In its first execution in five years, Kuwait on Wednesday hanged seven individuals, including four Kuwaitis, a Pakistani, a Syrian, and an Ethiopian. Two of the seven were women.

Kuwait Hangs Seven People in First Executions Since 2017
Image credit: AP [via Al Jazeera]

Facts

  • In its first execution in five years, Kuwait on Wednesday hanged seven individuals, including four Kuwaitis, a Pakistani, a Syrian, and an Ethiopian. Two of the seven were women.
  • The state-run KUNA news agency said all seven had been convicted of premeditated murder, though the oil-rich nation has received condemnation from both rights and governmental organizations.
  • The death penalty in Kuwait — introduced in the mid-1960s — is rare compared to other countries in the region, with Saudi Arabia having executed 81 men in one day in March.
  • Prior to the executions, Amnesty International urged the country not to proceed on Tuesday, calling it "the ultimate cruel, inhuman and degrading punishment."
  • With the European Parliament set to vote on a proposal to lift visa requirements for Kuwaitis, the EU also condemned the executions, saying it “will draw the consequences this will have on discussions on the proposal."
  • Among the dozens of executions issued since the 1960s, most for murderers and drug traffickers, Kuwaiti courts have also handed down the penalty to members of the Al-Sabah family, which has ruled the country for two-and-a-half centuries.

Sources: Al Jazeera, Times of Israel, Dnyuz, and Citizen.

Narratives

  • Pro-establishment narrative, as provided by Jerusalem Post. The Middle East is rampant with not only public executions but executions for non-violent crimes like drug trafficking, homosexuality, adultery, and religious heresy — a tool used to infuse fear among the public and silence dissent. The international community has a duty to oppose these human rights violations by calling for the total abolishment of the death penalty.
  • Establishment-critical narrative, as provided by Kuwait Times. While the West should continue to condemn the misuse of capital punishment in non-Western states, it shouldn't resort to blackmail as the EU has done with its threats to Kuwait's visa bid. International law allows capital punishment in certain instances, and Kuwait has sparingly used it for the most severe crimes.