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Kuwait executes seven prisoners amid international outcry

November 16, 2022

The EU and rights groups have strongly condemned the executions carried out by Kuwait. A European vote on visa-free travel for Kuwaitis is likely to be impacted.

Kuwait City during a sandstorm
Mass executions in Kuwait are rare eventsImage: Nie Yunpeng/Xinhua/IMAGO

Kuwait executed seven prisoners on Wednesday in a rare mass execution even as the international outcry over the executions grows louder. 

The state-owned news agency KUNA reported that those executed were convicted of premeditated murder and other charges in Kuwait. Among those killed were three Kuwaiti men, one Kuwaiti woman, a Syrian man, a Pakistani man and an Ethiopian woman. 

Kuwait confirmed the mass execution took place at the central prison. It did not identify the method it used to carry out the executions. 

What was the international reaction to the executions? 

The European Union strongly condemned the executions. They coincided with a visit by European Commission official Margaritis Schinas, the commissioner responsible for promoting the European way of life, to the country, as the EU stated. 

"The EU calls for a halt to executions and for a complete de facto moratorium on carrying out death penalty, as a first step towards a formal and full abolition of the death penalty in Kuwait,'' the EU said in a statement, calling the death penalty "a cruel and inhumane punishment.''

Schinas also warned that the EU "will draw the consequences this will have on discussions on the proposal to put Kuwait on the visa-free list."

According to the EU, Kuwait's ambassador to Brussels will be summoned.

The EU parliament is scheduled to vote on the proposal to lift visa requirements for Kuwaitis and Qataris in the EU on Thursday. 

Amna Guellali, a spokesperson for Amnesty International, urged for the executions to be stopped. "The death penalty is a violation of the right to life and the ultimate cruel, inhuman and degrading punishment,'' she said.

The last time Kuwait carried out an execution was 2017. Similarly, it was a mass execution of seven prisoners. A member of the ruling family was also executed.

los/sms (AFP, AP, Reuters)