Kuwait’s supreme court on Monday upheld a one-year jail sentence against leading stateless rights activist Abdul Hakeem Al Fadhli and five others for demonstrating.
The six men were convicted of illegal assembly, defying orders and assaulting police, according to the court ruling which also states they will be deported from the Gulf state after serving the jail term.
They were arrested in 2014 after taking part in a protest to demand Kuwaiti citizenship and other basic rights by stateless people, locally known as bidoons. In January 2015, a lower court jailed him to one year in prison but suspended the sentence to allow higher courts to review the case.
The appeals court later confirmed the sentence which was upheld Monday by the supreme court. Al Fadhli was arrested again last month while taking part in a political rally and jailed.
The human rights activist has been detained several times for taking part in pro-stateless activities. Bidoons were born and raised in Kuwait and claim the right to Kuwaiti citizenship.
But the government says only 34,000 of an estimated 110,000 stateless qualify for consideration and that the rest hold other nationalities. Dozens of bidoons and their Kuwaiti supporters were arrested for taking part in protests staged between 2011 and 2014 to press for resolving the decades-old problem.
Some of the detainees were acquitted while others were jailed. External Affairs Minister of the African island nation of Comoros Abdul Karim Mohammad was quoted by Kuwaiti press on Monday as saying that his country was ready to consider taking Kuwait’s bidoons.