Cairo: 12 October, 2015
The Arabic Network for Human Rights Information (ANHRI), today, denounced the decision made yesterday to refer the Secretary General of National Islamic Alliance “Hussein Al- Matouq” to the criminal court, whereas his trial is due on November 18 over the allegations of disturbing public order, spreading false news, and breaching the National Unity Law; on account of a sermon that he had delivered at Imam Hussein Mosque.
Kuwait’s public prosecution, on the 2nd of October, released the secretary general on bail of 10000 Dinar ($33,113), following one day of his detention during which he was interrogated over a complaint filed against him for delivering a sermon, on 18 September 2015, at Imam Hussein Mosque in Maidan Hawally neighborhood (7 km south of the capital). In his sermon, Al-Matouq has accused the security men of practicing torture while investigating Al-Abdali Cell’s members.
The prosecution has depended on the state security officers’ statements concerning the incident, as it deemed what had been said during Al-Matouq’s sermons influencing the “national unity”. This phrase, however, is vague and not accurately defined in the Kuwaiti laws.
Ministry of Awqaf and Islamic Affairs has banned Hussein Al- Matouq from delivering sermons and lectures inside the country’s mosques. In a statement issued on 18 September 2015, Walid Abdul Aziz Al-Ammar- delegated assistant deputy minister for the affairs of mosques- announced that the Ministry of Awqaf and Islamin Affairs has taken all the legal procedures towards what Al-Matouq has done.
The decision of referring Al-Matouq to the court has been made in spite of his emphasis, during the sermon, on the importance of applying the law to all, and tightening the security and nation protection, according to Al-Matouq. He, moreover, underscored his stance that refuses the possession of weapons, as he has explained during the sermon that it is a wrong matter incompatible with the security situation; therefore, it is religiously forbidden without doubt and hesitation.
Perhaps, the trial of Al-Matouq is owing to what he had said during the sermon concerning his complete refusal of the sectarian-based persecution, as he was wondering during the sermon: “Until when will the sectarians be given unlimited authorities in the state bodies, particularly the significant bodies like the state security apparatus, and a proof of that is the insults to Mr. Mohamed Al-Husseini by some agents of this apparatus.”
“The decision of referring Al-Matouq to the criminal court and fixing a hearing to consider the case elaborates the government’s disregard of the right to freedom of expression, and is evidence of its nonacceptance of the simplest forms of criticism. That sermon was only a peaceful expression of opinion, and condemnation of the abhorrent sectarian discrimination, and if what had been said by Al-Matouq breaches regulations of the Ministry of Awqaf for mosques, then it is an infringement that does not require a criminal trial,” ANHRI said.
ANHRI calls on Kuwaiti authorities to discontinue the trial of Al-Matouq, to stop the prosecutions of opinion holders- political opponents, journalists, or online activists- and to suspend using the judiciary as a tool to achieve political ends.
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