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New law overly restricts peaceful expression of dissent, says HRinfo

(HRinfo/IFEX) - On 15 April 2008, HRinfo stated that the new law issued by the Kuwaiti government days before, which infringes on the right to organize gatherings or peaceful protests, is overly restrictive. The Ministry of the Interior approved the law even though it contradicts a 2006 ruling by the Kuwaiti Constitutional Court upholding the right of Kuwaiti citizens to gather peacefully.

Moreover, this new law has been approved despite the absence of a standing Parliament; the last Parliament was dispelled on 17 March and a new one will not be elected until 17 May. Thus, both the timing and the rationale of the new law raise doubts.

HRinfo Executive Director Gamal Eid said of the new law: "This law was passed by stealth! Democratic laws cannot be issued in this way. This law stands against freedom of assembly and expression."

HRinfo called for the Kuwaiti government to withdraw this law. Doing so will help to avert a potential struggle between the Kuwaiti government and the next Parliament, and would help to safeguard civil liberties in Kuwait.

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