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Kuwait targets opposition by revoking citizenship

Kuwaiti authorities have revoked the citizenship of a number of key opposition figures in recent months, raising concerns the move is part of a renewed effort to crackdown on dissent.
Supporters of Kuwaiti former member of parliament and opposition politician Musallam al-Barrak wave flags as they march towards the central prison in Andulos, after a ruling sentenced Barrak to jail for insulting the emir, April 15, 2013. Barrak was sentenced to five years in jail on Monday for insulting the emir, his lawyer said, in a ruling that brought thousands of people to the streets in protest. The Kuwaiti criminal court found Barrak guilty of insulting Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad al-Sabah in a speech in O

In the past four months, Kuwaiti authorities have revoked the citizenship of 32 people based on various allegations. Despite attempts to justify these actions in legal terms, the move is widely seen as a campaign targeting political dissent. Kuwaiti law grants authorities the right to strip a person of citizenship for threatening national security, undermining national unity, being a dual citizen or acquiring a criminal record within 15 years of naturalization.

In June, officials announced the names of five people whose citizenship was revoked based on Article 5 of the citizenship law: “If evidence is available from competent authorities showing that he has promoted principles that will undermine the social or economic system of the country or belongs to a foreign political party. In this case, the court may also revoke the citizenship of those who obtained it from him by dependency.” The list included Abdullah al-Bargash, a former member of parliament, and three of his siblings. Bargash is an Islamist politician active in the opposition.

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