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24-02-2012 - Kuwait Times

59 bedoons out on bail in Kuwait

The public prosecutor yesterday freed 59 state- less people on $ 1,800 bail each after they spent 40 days in jail for participating in protests demanding citizenship, their lawyer said.

The men were questioned on charges of assaulting policemen, damaging public property and taking part in illegal gatherings, Fayez Al-Oteibi told AFP.

The stateless, known as bedoons, were arrested in mid- January when riot police cracked down on thousands of protesters demanding the right to Kuwaiti citizenship and a host of basic rights.

Oteibi said a judge was scheduled later in the day to look into the cases of 12 other bedoons who were questioned on charges of inciting demonstrations.

Encouraged by the Arab Spring protests, stateless people demonstrated in February and March last year.

They renewed their protests in December to press authorities to resolve their decades-old plight. A total of 150 stateless protesters and some Kuwaiti sympathisers are facing trial for demonstrating. Earlier this month, the lower court acquitted 31 of them of all charges.

In a bid to force the bedoon to produce their original nationality papers, Kuwait has refused to issue essential documents to most of them, including birth, marriage and death certificates, Human Rights Watch reported in June. Kuwait says only 34,000 out of the 105,000 bedoon present in the state are eligible for citizenship, while the remaining 71,000 are citizens of other countries who must produce their original passports.

 

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