Kuwaiti police uses physical force against children

Kuwaiti police uses physical force against children

By Iqbal Tamimi

Saleh Duwaikh is a journalist at Kuwaiti newspaper has reported a case of physical abuse by Kuwaiti police against four children during an incident that was supposed to enforce law for the welfare of the youngsters, but the suffering children are the ones who became the victims through another ordeal.

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The father who lives with his children abided to the law following a court order that offered their grandmother on their mother’s side the custody over the four children. The father arrived with his children to the police station of Sulaibkhat in Kuwait, to hand the children over as requested by the authority, but his abidance to the law was met by abusing his children by the security officers who used physical force with the children while the father stood by helpless. The four children collapsed in tears, refusing to go with their grandmother who won the custody case.

According to the published report, when the children refused to go with their grandmother, the police men started beating them and one of them groped the eldest daughter, Reem, from her ‘sensitive’ parts and she was scuffed on the floor, in front of the crying father, who was begging the police officers and kissing the hands of one of them to go easy on his children.

The father reported his children’s ordeal to female Kuwaiti lawyer, Salwa Abdallah Tararwah, who accompanied him to the newspaper to make the incident known to everybody. 

‘ On Tuseday 15th of May 2012, at 4:30 pm, I received a phone call from the Sulaibikha police station. The security requested of me to bring my children «Reem (12 years), Rayana (8 years), Lateefah (7 years), and Shaheen (9 years) to the police station, to implement a court ruling and hand them over to their grandmother, who was granted custody. So I did. I took my children and went there. My ex-wife and her mother were there, in front of the police station’ said the sobbing father.

‘As soon as we arrived the children started to cry because they wanted to stay with me, since their mother has abandoned them 6 years ago and they do not know their grandmother. I calmed the kids down and told them lets go inside and see what we can do.’ The father explained.

He continued ‘ I went in, and headed towards the desk of the officer who phoned me. He asked me to leave the children and stay out. I did. But while I was out waiting, I started hearing the officers scolding my children and yelling at them, while persuading them to go with their grandmother, while the children broke in tears ‘.

The father explained ‘I was feeling tense, and the tension escalated when my eldest daughter, Reem, came to me begging for help, she was suffering fatigue because she is diabetic and her health is weak . And despite the fact that the officer knows of her health condition, he said ‘nothing is wrong with her, she is only pretending, and I am compelled to use force to enforce the law’.

The father went on: ‘I felt shame and pain that I saw my kids being beaten, pulled, pushed and dragged on the floor brutally without being able to help them. I begged the policemen for some mercy while handling the kids, but they continued beating them, and pushing them in a brutality that I have never witnessed practiced by anyone before. I have seen my daughter, Reem, touched,….one of the officers placed his hand on sensitive parts of her body, she had no power, she has reacted in pain and shown shyness. What made me feel worse is the fact that she was yelling for help, until she has collapsed, and I could not do anything to help her. The police man dragged her again on the floor, causing her bruises in the left leg, scratches on the finger and thumb. The painful thing that the mother and the grandmother were encouraging the police to do that, but when the police men lost hope of convincing the children to get into the car with their grandmother, I was told to take my children and go away. Immediately I took them to hospital for medical examination and report of what they went through’. 

Kuwaiti lawyer Salwa Abdallah Tararwah

Lawyer Salwa Tararwah said ‘ According to law, anyone who strikes or causes  harm to another person’s body by wound or injury, or breaches the sanctity of another person’s body, shall be punished by imprisonment for a period not exceeding two years and a fine, or by both penalties. Article (191) of the Penal Code as well says (anyone who indecently assaults another person, by force or threatened him or resorted to deception, shall be punished by imprisonment for not more than fifteen years)’. 

‘In view of the criminal acts performed by the police and what they have done with the eldest daughter, Reem,  of  putting their hands on sensitive areas of her body, the intimidation and the threats, the police men committed  a crime punishable by the law, it is an offense of indecent assault, according to articles (120, 125), besides it is a crime to  use one’s position or job to harm people or use his influence by taking advantage of his job’s powers and function’, Tararwah explained.

Clearly, this incident shows lack of training regarding handling children’s cases at police stations in Kuwait and an absence of female police women officers whose presence might make such painful procedures regarding resolving children’s transfer of custody, more compassionate and less damaging to the children’s mental health, especially when little girls are involved .

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