Kuwait authorities have arrested eight people it accuses of belonging to the Muslim Brotherhood and extradited them to Egypt, despite pleas from their families, where they face sentences of up to 15 years.
One defendant has been linked to the 2015 assassination of Egypt’s then Attorney General Hisham Barakat. In February Egyptian authorities executed nine suspects in the Barakat case. The UN has confirmed that a number of detainees have been executed in Egypt after confessing under torture.
Yesterday Kuwait Deputy Foreign Minister Khaled Al-Jarallah confirmed that the defendants had been deported to Cairo in line with a 2017 extradition agreement between the two countries.
Kuwaiti media reported that they had been accused of running a charity which funded the Muslim Brotherhood, which is now considered a terrorist organisation in Egypt.
Since 2013 Egyptian authorities have engaged in the systematic repression of the Brotherhood by arresting and sentencing to death its members after mass trials. Anyone considered an opponent of the regime is imprisoned for allegedly colluding with the group and of inciting violence and terrorism.
Unlike Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the UAE, in Kuwait the Muslim Brotherhood is not considered a terrorist organisation and the local branch, the Islamic Constitutional Movement, takes part in local elections.
However, since former Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi was overthrown in 2013, they have come under increasing pressure and Kuwaiti politicians have accused them of engaging in terrorism, money laundering and plotting a coup.
Members of the group have gathered to defend the Egyptian detainees. Former Kuwaiti MP Nasser Al-Duweila said on Twitter: “The Kuwaiti Interior Ministry’s decision to arrest members of the terrorist Brotherhood cell was an unsuccessful statement. We do not know those members or any of their activities in Kuwait.”
Adding: “The behaviour of the Interior Ministry violates the Constitution.”