Kuwait's executioner strikes again: seven prisoners executed
The last executions were in 2017 and included a member of the royal family. Among those executed were four Kuwaiti citizens (three men and a woman), a Syrian, a Pakistani and an Ethiopian. The EU condemn the killings, threatening retaliation including blocking entry visas.
Kuwait City (AsiaNews) - The authorities yesterday executed seven people convicted of murder and other serious crimes, applying the death penalty for the first time since 2017, drawing criticism from human rights activist groups and threats of retaliation from international chancelleries.
Among the first critical voices to be raised is that of the European Union: Brussels summoned the Gulf country's ambassador to the EU and threatened to block the process leading to the granting of visa-free travel.
EU Commissioner Margaritis Schinas says that there will be "consequences" following the use of the executioner after years of moratorium and in the face of "reassurances" that there would be no executions, as the official remarked.
The death sentences, in fact, were carried out during the European delegation's visit to Kuwait. "We will draw all the consequences," Schinas said in a note, "that this decision will have on the talks [...] to put Kuwait on the list of visa-free nations. In this regard, the European Parliament is expected to vote today on a Commission proposal to include Kuwait City on the visa-free list. If the go-ahead is given, Gulf citizens will be able to enter without needing a Schengen visa (currently mandatory) for a minimum of a few days and a maximum of three months.
The death sentences were carried out in the central prison, although the modalities are unclear. The persons executed are three men and one woman who are citizens of Kuwait, a man of Syrian nationality, a Pakistani and an Ethiopian woman. The reasons for the executions include premeditated murder; for the authorities, capital punishment should be a 'deterrent' for similar situations in the future. 'By acting in this way they have deprived the victims,' the prosecution said in a statement, 'of one of the most sacred rights, which is the right to life.
The last mass execution was in 2017, when Kuwait executed seven prisoners including a member of the ruling royal family, the Al-Sabah. Before that there had been other executions in 2013. Amnesty International's deputy regional director for the Middle East and North Africa, Amna Guellali, renewed her appeal to the authorities calling for an "immediate moratorium on executions". She added that 'the death penalty is a violation of the right to life and an ultimate cruel, inhuman and degrading punishment'.