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Country Reports on Terrorism 2010 - Kuwait

Publisher United States Department of State
Publication Date 18 August 2011
Cite as United States Department of State, Country Reports on Terrorism 2010 - Kuwait, 18 August 2011, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/4e524823c.html [accessed 20 April 2014]
DisclaimerThis is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.

Overview: Despite a lack of legal provisions that deal specifically with terrorism and terrorist financing, the Government of Kuwait maintained its efforts to counter terrorism, notably in the prosecutions of terrorists and terrorism facilitators for other offenses throughout the year.

Legislation and Law Enforcement: The Government of Kuwait lacks a clear legal framework for prosecuting terrorism-related crimes, often having to resort to other legal statues to try suspected terrorists, which hampers enforcement efforts. In February, Kuwait City's head prosecutor commented in al-Qabas newspaper that Kuwait needed stronger counterterrorism legislation and a clearer definition of what constituted a terrorist act.

On October 28, an appeals court upheld the May 10 acquittal of eight individuals accused of illegal weapons possession and planning to perform a hostile act against a foreign government, stemming from a plot to carry out attacks on U.S. and Kuwaiti installations at Camp Arifjan in southern Kuwait.

On June 28, a criminal court sentenced 11 defendants to three-year prison terms for a variety of terrorism-related charges, including acts of aggression committed in Afghanistan and possession of weapons training materials. Seven of the convicted were tried in absentia. The disposition of their cases was not known at the end of the reporting period.

On April 26, an appeals court overturned the December 2009 conviction of terrorist facilitator Nasser Ali Snaitan al-Otaibi on charges of collecting funds to commit hostile acts against coalition forces in Afghanistan, and vacated a seven-year prison sentence. The Court of Appeals found that the prosecution had not sufficiently linked funds collected at al-Otaibi's mosque to financing terrorist activity in Afghanistan.

UNSCR 1267 designee Mubarak al-Bathali was detained and released twice during the year. According to press reports, Kuwait State Security detained al-Bathali after he called the Yemeni Ambassador to Kuwait, offering to mediate between the Government of Yemen and al-Qa'ida in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP). In an alleged recording of the phone call available on YouTube, al-Bathali threatened that AQAP's efforts in Yemen would escalate unless Yemen "stopped following American orders." Al-Bathali was detained on September 13 because of a video he posted to YouTube on September 11, threatening to "cut the neck" of Shia Member of Parliament Hussain al-Qallaf in response to incendiary comments made by exiled Shia cleric Yasser al-Habib. Al-Bathali was released four days later after making a public apology.

Countering Terrorist Finance: The Kuwaiti government lacked comprehensive legislation that criminalizes terrorist financing. Draft comprehensive anti-money laundering/counterterrorist finance (AML/CTF) legislation was first submitted to the National Assembly in December 2009. Kuwait's parliament rejected the combined bill in November 2010, sending it back to the Council of Ministers with a request to separate terrorist finance from the AML law. By separating terrorist financing from money laundering, Kuwait made measured progress over the past year on its draft AML legislation, which remained under consideration by the Parliament. Despite the lack of adequate legislation, authorities have continued efforts to combat financial crimes, including holding an annual AML/CTF conference to educate government and private sector officials on the issues.

The Ministry of Social Affairs and Labor (MoSAL) and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) continued their monitoring and supervision of charities, including enforcing the ban on cash donations except during Ramadan, implementing an enhanced receipt system for Ramadan cash donations, and coordinating closely with the Ministry of Islamic Affairs to monitor and prosecute fraudulent charitable operators. MoSAL reported a continued decline in the number of violations during its 2010 Ramadan audit and an increase in donations, despite more stringent collection regulations. MoSAL added an electronic bank debit option in 2010, allowing charitable funds to move through formal financial channels that can be more easily tracked. MFA and MoSAL officials also worked closely with recipient foreign governments, conducting foreign site visits and audits of selected foreign projects funded by Kuwaiti charities.

Kuwait is a member of MENAFATF, a Financial Action Task Force-style regional body. In late 2010, Kuwait had its on-site visit as part of its mutual evaluation. The report of the evaluation will be discussed in 2011. Kuwait is also a member of the Gulf Cooperation Council, which is a member of the Financial Action Task Force.

Regional and International Cooperation: As in previous years, the Kuwaiti Armed Forces, National Guard, and Ministry of Interior conducted a number of exercises aimed at responding to terrorist attacks, including joint exercises with regional and international partners.

Countering Radicalization and Violent Extremism: Government officials routinely made statements denouncing violent extremism. In his opening remarks to the 31st Gulf Cooperation Council Summit on December 4, the Amir strongly condemned terrorist acts, expressing support for regional and international efforts in the fight against terrorism in all its forms. Kuwaiti television stations ran advertisements discouraging youth from engaging in terrorist activity, emphasizing the negative effects that extremism has on the families and social groups of radicalized youth.

The al-Salam Center, opened by the Government of Kuwait in 2009 – is a treatment facility modeled after the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia's rehabilitation center – to rehabilitate religious extremists, including Kuwaitis repatriated from Guantanamo Bay Detention Center. The facility is located in a secured area within Kuwait's Central Prison and is governed by a board of government officials, medical experts, and a religious scholar.

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