Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Kuwait jail for Aussie mother

The papers here, and radio discussion, have been talking about an Aussie mother of seven jailed in Kuwait for insulting the Emir.

I've also been reading about it in the Sydney Morning Herald where there was the original story about her arrest back in January. They also have family background and photos, which fills out the story more than our media here.

Nasrah Alshamery, who's been sentenced to two years in jail, is second left in this photo:

She has always denied the charge, her lawyer is appealing the sentence and they've petitioned the Emir for leniency, so the story may not be finished yet.

All of the family are Australian citizens, although most were born in Kuwait. The two youngest were born in Australia.

The Sydney Morning Herald says:

They had previously lived in Kuwait among the some 100,000 bidoons, or stateless Arabs.

Bidoons have no right to work, obtain a birth certificate for their babies or even get their marriage certificate attested.

It doesn't quite say that they are bidoon but that's certainly what's suggested.

The coverage being given to the story might just raise international awareness about the plight of the bidoon in the Gulf. And maybe some pressure to correct what is obviously an unacceptable situation.

The story originally broke in the SMH back in January, which you can read here.

The report of the jail sentence is here.


Dave said...

Seabee, I find this story fascinating and disturbing all at the same time. But, if the newspaper stories are to be believed they actually raise more questions than they answer.

Such as:-

A bidoon, as I understand it, is a person (Arab) "without nationality", yet the family embarks on a two-month tour of the Middle East??

Mr Alshamery acknowledges in the second article that his wife has a "psychological problem".... yet another reason not to travel on such an expedition I would suspect.

The security guard asked "who will save you now, the emu or the kangaroo?".... well he must be the only Kuwaiti local who knows what an emu is!!

The gentleman asked where the "visa counter" was. Having travelled many times to Kuwait, I can tell you it is not hard to find. Just look up and see the signs marked "visa counter"....

So picture this, a local looking Arabic style family suffering various degrees of mental illness set out on a voyage through the Middle East. They possess no recognised nationality in some countries, but they possess Aussie passports. They don't do anything wrong yet the sons get bashed for several hours..... She then gets jailed for two years for allegedly saying something she didn't say about a person she doesn't actually know.

Something is not right here...

Seabee said...

I agree with you Dave, the whole thing is very, very strange. I decided not to post about that side of it because trying to get my head around it all was difficult and, as you point out, there's so much we obviously don't know.

Anonymous said...

bidoon is a general term meaning "without", in kuwait it normally implies people of Basra/Iraq or Iranian descent, mostly Shia, who sort of got caught in the middle when the maps were being redrawn by the Brits. Since they had no solid allegiance one way or the other, and since they happened to be more on the kuwaiti side of the border, they ended up as being stuck in Kuwait but without having any of the benefits of citizenship.

Off topic I know, but just another aritificial entity if you ask me, one "royal" family does not make a country... I look forward to the day that Iraq will wake up from all the intercommunal tit-for-tat and resume it's historic role as the true cradle of that region.