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Rights body slams mistreatment of worker, urges amending laws – Authorities arrest two over abuse video that went viral

KUWAIT: This image combo shows suspects Ali Abdullah Al-Shemmari (left) and Mohammed Owais (center), and victim Ashraf Abu Al-Yameen (right).
KUWAIT: This image combo shows suspects Ali Abdullah Al-Shemmari (left) and Mohammed Owais (center), and victim Ashraf Abu Al-Yameen (right).

KUWAIT: The interior ministry’s security media and relations department yesterday announced that security forces have arrested a 40-year-old bedoon named Ali Abdullah Al-Shemmari, who appeared in a video circulating on social media networks assaulting, insulting and humiliating his Egyptian employee, 35-year-old Ashraf Abu Al-Yameen. In the video, the suspect uses foul language against the worker, and beats him by hand, with sticks and a stun gun. The worker was also videotaped in very humiliating positions.

The ministry statement explained that the incident shown in the video took place almost 18 months ago. It added that the suspect made a detailed confession, saying that he behaved in this manner because of a theft from the mobile phone store he owns in Ahmadi, where the Egyptian works.

The ministry also said that a 31-year-old Egyptian named Mohammed Owais was also arrested for taking the video and posting it on social media. The suspect said he posted the video after such a long period due to some financial disputes with the main suspect. The victim was also summoned to complete the investigations. A case was filed and further investigations are in progress pending referring the two suspects to the public prosecution.

Earlier yesterday, the Kuwait Human Rights Society (KHRS) strongly condemned the actions of the employer. It said that such incidents pose an imminent danger and called on the government to amend national laws to be in sync with anti-torture and other agreements fighting all forms of abuse and inhumane treatment. KHRS also called for activating law number 91/2013 pertaining human trafficking to ensure that culprits do not escape punishment. KHRS had urged the interior ministry to immediately act and arrest the employer and refer him to court for beating and enslaving the worker.

KHRS added that the current sponsorship system is the reason why some sponsors abuse their workers and intimidate them with the threat of deportation, which has lately turned into a weapon abusively used against workers in Kuwait instead of imposing other penalties. KHRS also repeated its demands to cancel administrative deportations and urged the government to activate the role of the judiciary to be the sole body entitled to deport any expat based on clearly defined reasons, while entitling expats to contest its verdicts.

By Meshaal Al-Enezi

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