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Short story collection banned

(ANHRI/IFEX) - ANHRI condemns the ban on a collection of short stories by author Yusuf Khalifa, titled "Naked Thoughts". The ban was imposed by Kuwaiti publication control for "abusing the ethics of society."

This prohibition dates back to 2007, when "Naked Thoughts" was published by Dar Al Farabi. The Kuwaiti publication control prevented its distribution in its first print run and reprints. The collection won the Laila Al-Othman award for youth creativity in short stories in 2008.

Freedoms in Kuwait suffer from ongoing oppressive intervention by the authorities. On 13 November, the authorities confiscated "Masrahna", an Egyptian newspaper, without giving a reason. That issue of "Masrahna" contained a number of photographs from theatre shows, in the background of which there was a cross under the title "Ecclesiastical Theater … Decades of Enlightenment". It also included a special report about the Ecclesiastical Theater and the text of two medieval morality plays entitled Every Man and Adam, by anonymous authors, in addition to studies on the Ecclesiastical Theatre.

In November 2011, the authorities arrested bloggers Hamad Al-Alyan and Tareq Al-Materi, and prosecutors accused them of "prejudice to the monarchical entity" on Twitter. On 27 September, a Kuwaiti court sentenced the blogger Nasser Abel to three months in prison after convicting him on charges of "contempt for the Sunni sect" on Twitter.

"Confiscation of creative works and prohibiting their distribution are clear violations of freedom of opinion and expression, which is guaranteed by international conventions and ratified by Kuwait," said ANHRI.

"Prohibiting the distribution of the collection is based on the vague wording, 'abusing the ethics of society'. The purpose is to repress freedom of opinion and expression with no legislative basis," added ANHRI.

ANHRI calls on the authorities to not interfere in literary works and to stop targeting people for exercising their right to freedom of expression, as well as to reconsider the decision to ban this collection of short stories.

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