Kuwait Sentences Female Activist and 21 Others For Reading From Speech Critical Of Emir

PrisonCell220px-Sheikh_Sabah_IVIn 1991, President Bush announced the start of military operations to free Kuwait from the ravages of dictatorship after the invasion of Iraqi forces. He promised to restore Kuwait and its people to freedom. In the years following the liberation however Kuwait’s government has repeatedly shown that real freedom was confined to its ruling family and not average Kuwaitis. The sentencing in absentia of Rana Jassem al-Saadun is only the latest example. The female rights activist was given three years in jail for simply repeating parts of a speech by an opposition leader that was critical of Emir Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad al-Sabah, Kuwait’s authoritarian leader.

Prominent opposition leader Mussallam al-Barrak was given two years for his speech and it appears that even quoting from it is a criminal offense in “free” Kuwait. Barrak was originally given five years for simply warning Emir Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad al-Sabah against amending the electoral law to help the government control parliament.

Saadun is a founding member of rights group the National Committee for Monitoring Violations and told the “court” that she and others read from the speech to support free expression rather than any agreement with its content. The court however also sentenced some 21 other activists for participating in the free speech protest. In other words, there is no free speech in Free Kuwait . . . except for the Emir and his family.

34 thoughts on “Kuwait Sentences Female Activist and 21 Others For Reading From Speech Critical Of Emir”

  1. Aridog, Obama hasn’t failed. He’s mission accomplished all the way! He works for the .01% and he has never failed to get them what they wanted. Not once!

    These Democrats are giving us the same definition of treason that many Republicans had under Bush. Both would make the Emir proud!

  2. Jill … good one. However, no one need hope that the current POTUS fails: he’s doing quite well at that all by himself. Hell, I wish he could succeed at something substantive and not burdensome, but I’m confident he has no clue how to do that. So he preaches instead. Repeat what I said at the end of my last comment.

  3. When Obama used the N-word, he owns it. If his range of vocabulary available to him for a speech is so sparse that he must use a term that is pejorative in almost any context, save use by black entertainers (who also own it) he’s making himself small and irrelevant. He’s not Jive Joe Willie on the block, who may say whatever he wants from a limited vocabulary, he is the President of the Untied States. What on earth more does he require to find relevance? Like it or not, he’s my President, your President, all of our President, and use of that term is not just “impolite,” however it is just ignorant to Freudian dimensions by an otherwise educated man. Good G-d Almighty, I hope we can survive another 1.5 years of this tool.

  4. Criticism of the “Emir” pales by comparison to criticism of the race of the President.

    To wit,

    Washington (CNN)—President Barack Obama used the n-word during an interview released Monday to make a point that there’s still plenty of room for America to combat racism.

    “Racism, we are not cured of it. And it’s not just a matter of it not being polite to say nigger in public,” Obama said in an interview for the podcast “WTF with Marc Maron.”


    “The legacy of slavery, Jim Crow, discrimination in almost every institution of our lives, you know, that casts a long shadow, and that’s still part of our DNA that’s passed on. We are not cured of it. Racism, we are not cured of it. And it’s not just a matter of it not being polite to say nigger in public,” Obama said. “That’s not the measure of whether racism still exists or not. It’s not just a matter of overt discrimination. Societies don’t, overnight, completely erase everything that happened 200 to 300 years prior.”


    This action by President Obama reveals the false, artificial double-standard and bias provided to African-Americans and minorities. Curiously, it is never mentioned that Americans are now referred to as “whites” by the “W”-word. We used to be Americans. Now we’re “whites.” Who took America away from Americans?

    The Founders said that favor to the majority would be adverse to minorities, and favor to minorities would be adverse to majorities. America has to pick one.

    America must pick freedom. America must simply and constitutionally “Let Freedom Ring.”

    Fairness is freedom. After the end of slavery, all Americans are free. All Americans obtain fairness when they obtain freedom. “All men are created equal.” After that, they are on their own. ?Government does not exist to guarantee success or failure.

    Government exists solely to be neutral in its facilitation of freedom and free enterprise.

    The American thesis is freedom and self-reliance.

    Artifices such as affirmative action, “Fair Housing” law (which is unfair to owners with the RIGHT to private property), and direct payments of welfare, food stamps, utility subsidies, Obamacare, WIC, are all unconstitutional redistribution and shall be nullified and repealed and accomplished only as charity in the private sector.

    Americans must adapt to and live with the consequences of freedom.

    The President cannot use the n-word himself and deny its use to others.

    That is not neutral.

    That is not fair.

    That is Obama.

  5. Nick, I looked up the transcript, and sadly, I think you may have misrepresented how the Arab women actually feel towards Western feminists.

    I don’t think you can make the claim they are calling Western feminists whiny and self-absorbed (though they are), merely that the Arab women think for Western feminists don’t have it as good as they claim to. This fits into the “standard boilerplate” of Arab women explaining how the burqa liberates them, and Western Feminists saying “Yay, burqas!” (often mainly as a way to additionally claim that Western society treats women horribly).


    “So she’s helping victims of torture. And very much so in a way that she feels like helping people take responsibility to realize that they can change their lives. And in doing that, they can eventually change the regime. ZAKARIA: You talk about patriarchy and certainly Arab societies are patriarchal. But I’m struck by the fact that when you go there and you talk to women, they’re often not very keen on women’s lib. They view this as some kind of Western imposition.

    Did you encounter that?

    DISNEY: Absolutely, and more than once. And I have to say I understand it, I really do. I’ve had women say to me I don’t understand why you women in the West think you have it so good. I’ve seen your media, I’ve seen the way you’re treated. So that’s a fair point.

    But even the women who are leery about Western feminism are very clear and assertive that they need to have a voice, that they need to be heard in political processes. So de facto, they’re feminists whether they want to use the F word for themselves or not because they’re asserting themselves as viable political actors in an environment where others aren’t understanding them that way.”

  6. randyjet … I agree with you, and just so no one misunderstands what I meant by freedom, it solely referred to Kuwait’s freedom from Saddam, not freedom there in general. I’d add that, IMO, a driver of that military alliance to “defend” Kuwait was also to protect Saudi Arabia and her flank. Until recently all of the middle eastern nations, good or bad, adhered to the borders set up in the San Remo Accords as amended in 1922 (when Trans-Jordan was created)…but now it appears that Iraq & Syria are going to fall apart, and soon the Kurds will demand independence at least in Syria and Iraq, which is a threat to both Iran’s and Turkey’s borders. I see no end in sight in my lifetime.

    1. I quite agree with Ari, though I think the latest elections in Turkey are a hopeful sign so that there will not be so much oppression of the Kurds which sparked the guerilla movement and which has for now diminished. The real key will be how Erdogan governs and who he joins with to form his government. If he goes back to his previous openning to the Kurds, then there might be a chance for peace in Turkey and lessening backhanded support to ISIS on the part of Turkey. I share your pessimism as to future events in the Mideast since they have not learned how to share political power and govern a multi-ethnic state.

  7. Women fighting for equality in the Middle East are the Iron Jawed Angels of today.

  8. I thank God that I was born a woman here in the US, and not anywhere in the Middle East or any other region under Sharia Law.

  9. The Middle East is a snake pit that we should try to avoid. Let the vipers go after each other.

  10. The fact is that the first Gulf War was NOT to ensure freedom in Kuwait, but to live up to the UN Charter which is mainly a MILITARY alliance which was formed to defeat the Axis powers in WWII. The League of Nations faced a similar challenge and FAILED when Italy invaded a fellow member of the League Etheopia and the League did nothing. The League was supposed to use military force to come to the aid of Etheopia, but the main powers were so afraid of war, that they could not even pass economic sanctions.

    Hitler saw this, and concluded, correctly, that Britain and France were so weak, that he could junk the provisions of the Treaty of Versailles. After the failure of the League, Hitler sent his troops into the demilitarized Rheinland part of Germany, and Britain and France, and the League did nothing. The rest as they say is history. Had the League followed their obligations, they would have been fighting in support of an absolute monarchy, not for freedom.

  11. This Emir is the the half brother of the previous Emir, the one who fled Kuwait when the Iraqis invaded. With a US lead coalition, his country was freed from Saddam’s grip, and he was restored to power in his little dictatorship. However, that Emir refused to return from exile until engineers from the US forces had restored the air conditioning in all of his palaces, whihc took months and was hardly a military necessity. How patriotic, eh? That gives insight to the mentality of Kuwaiti leadership…freedom per se wasn’t his goal, return to luxury was more important to him. Subsequently Kuwait welcomed the crony businesses who located there in the run up to the Iraq invasion. My personal experience with that invasion and subsequent occupation, of sorts, is that it increased costs to our military personnel by at least 4:1….for everything from fuel to office supplies to barracks and mess facilities….that had to be acquired via Kuwait, by government edict, not law, rather than the long standing Defense Logistics Agency as well as its subsidiary the Defense Energy Support Command. DLA and DESC are the mandatory sources for the military (and many civilian agencies as well) in accordance with 48 CFR Part 8, and DFARS part 208, however, the “permanent” senior bureaucracy chose to ignore US law and military regulations….not to mention punishing a small contingent of senior executives who disagreed publicly. In short, this Emir, and his predecessor, are a product of our own making….one should wonder why that is so?

    In my time with DOD & DA roughly half my time was consumed with enforcing the law and requirements of Part 8, 48 CFR (The Federal Acquisition Regulation) and its military counter part, part 208 DFARS. A huge waste of my time, and my staff’s time, to have to insist upon a process far simpler, & less expensive by far, than random selections of individual contractors, with local “connections”, for basic supplies, material, and matériel. I was very fortunate to have a Chief of Contracting Division, separate from my position as Chief of a acquisition branch at the time, who agreed with me and also demanded compliance with the law. It was necessary for us to meet daily late afternoons to discuss how to handle the next round of divergence. Most of the time we were successful, but took no small amount of senior (SES) bureaucratic flak for that effort.

  12. This is also interesting. It speaks quite clearly about how “security forces” in Britain deal with ideas they don’t like. I have seen these techniques used on this very blog, many, many times. They have ALWAYS been effective to a great extent.

    https://twitter.com/wikileaks The tweet is what UK spies do to you in their own words, which then links to a fuller article.

  13. Wikileaks obtained the containment strategy for dealing with any criticism of Saudi Arabia. I expect this applies to Kuwait and to the US as well. Certainly, the US locks up it’s whistleblowers and critics. There’s Homan Square in Chicago for dissidents and we know many other stories such as Manning. I think this document is enlightening!


  14. *Ken,*

    *Of course, we cozy up to tyrants while alienating those that could bring peace tot he world. It’s all about following the money. — Jack *

  15. Fareed Zakaria had two women documentary filmmakers on yesterday. They have done a doc on women, The Trial the Arab Spring. The filmmakers are Western women. They spoke of the derision these true feminists have for Western feminists, self absorbed and whiny.

  16. Kuwait is a pirate territory with tent head rulers. There is some farce of government so it is not as much of a pirate territory as say Somalia or northern Nigeria.

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