MPs Osama Al-Shaheen

By B Izzak

KUWAIT: Five lawmakers yesterday demanded the formation of a three-MP panel to investigate the circumstances surrounding the death of a handicapped Kuwaiti citizen in police custody allegedly as a result of torture. MP Mohammad Al-Dallal, one of the signatories on a request to be filed in the Assembly tomorrow, said the lawmakers are also demanding that the committee should complete its work within one month.

Other signatories include MPs Osama Al-Shaheen, Abdullah Al-Kandari, Saleh Ashour and Mohammad Al-Hadiya. This is the second motion by lawmakers demanding a parliamentary probe into the death of Ahmad Al-Dhafiri in police custody. Interior Minister Anas Al-Saleh already announced he has ordered a swift investigation into the death of the special-needs citizen and promised to take legal action against the perpetrators based on the outcome of the probe.

The death recalls a similar incident in 2011 when Mohammad Al-Maimouni died in police detention following several days of torture. The case forced the then interior minister Sheikh Jaber Al-Khaled Al-Sabah to resign. Dallal said Kuwaiti law prevents the arrest and detention of any person in Kuwait without a warrant from the public prosecution, adding that reports suggest that Dhafiri was subjected to torture that caused his death.

The lawmaker said MPs have also filed a draft law calling that departments related to achieving justice like the forensic and criminal investigation departments must be moved from the interior ministry to the ministry of justice to make sure that justice conditions are guaranteed. Similar bills were filed and rejected by assemblies in the past, mainly because the government rejected the idea.

Dallal said the motion wants the proposed investigation panel to probe the reasons for arresting Dhafiri and all officials involved in his detention, in addition to investigating tools and methods used in police questioning and this includes any means that violate human rights. It also wants the committee to probe the outcome of the interior ministry’s investigation into the case.

Meanwhile, Kuwait Democratic Forum and Kuwait Progressive Movement, two liberal groups, yesterday criticized a campaign launched by Islamist forces against newly-appointed Minister of Social Affairs and Labor Ghadeer Aseeri. They accused Islamist groups of blackmail for pressing the prime minister to dismiss Aseeri, a liberal academic, for tweeting in support of the protests against the government of Bahrain in 2011.