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Women protest demanding more protection for females in Kuwait

KUWAIT: Kuwaiti women hold banners during a protest in the Irada Square outside the National Assembly yesterday against the killing of a Kuwaiti woman and police’s alleged failure to protect her. – Photos by Yasser Al-Zayyat

By Izzak

KUWAIT: Dozens of women yesterday gathered outside the National Assembly building at the Irada Square demanding more protection for females and taking their cases more seriously by police stations following a brutal murder of a woman. A number of the peaceful protesters said that they came to let authorities know that complaints by women must be dealt with seriously like men, complaining that authorities tend to take their cases lightly.

Carrying banners saying “Stop killing women”, the protesters marched in the Square shouting “No law, no protection” to press their case. They also carried a banner with the names of several women they claimed they were murdered and asking “who’s next?”. Another banner read in English “Blood on your hands”. Some women said the same thing happened to them when police officers refused to officially register their complaints.

The gathering comes two days after Kuwaiti woman Farah Akbar was abducted and then stabbed to death by a citizen who wanted to marry her and her family refused. The woman’s family said that they filed several cases at several police stations and with some public prosecutors and still the man was not detained. The woman’s sister who is a lawyer said that she repeatedly pleaded with a public prosecutor that the release of the man can endanger her sister’s life and still he was freed on bail. She also said that police stations did not take their cases seriously.

A number of lawmakers also joined the march. MP Muhannad Al-Sayer said he will submit a proposal at the assembly calling for the interior ministry to set up a special department to house female victims and witnesses. Members of Farah family also attended the gathering. In the meantime, lawmakers continued to press for more government action to stop violence against women. MP Osama Al-Shaheen said he and other MPs submitted a draft law calling to scrap a provision in the penal code that treats the so-called “honor murders” lightly.

The draft law also calls to toughen penalties against those who attack houses. MP Khalil Al-Saleh submitted a proposal calling to set up specialized centers in every governorate to receive complaints by women and provide necessary protection for them. He said the centers must be administered by females only.

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