Release ElBaradei supporters, HRW says

April 12, 2010 at 11:30 AM
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NEW YORK, April 12 (UPI) -- The Kuwaiti government should release supporters of opposition leader Mohammed ElBaradei detained last week, Human Rights Watch said.

"Kuwait is enabling Egypt's repression by harassing ElBaradei supporters," said Sarah Leah Whitson, Middle East and North Africa director at Human Rights Watch. "Kuwaitis should be asking why their security services are harassing Egyptians seeking reform at home, instead of protecting domestic security interests."

Kuwaiti forces arrested about 15 people and deported more than 20 Egyptians who met last week in violation of national law. Kuwaiti law prohibits foreign citizens from demonstrating in the country.

Participants at the Kuwaiti demonstrations said they were responding to an Internet posting by ElBaradei's National Association for Change when security forces descending on the meeting.

Kuwait Interior Minister Jaber al-Khaled al-Sabah told Human Rights Watch the suspects broke national laws on public gatherings and slandered Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak.

"When somebody breaks the law, he has to go back to his country," he said. "We don't allow demonstrations in this country."

ElBaradei returned to Cairo in February following his tenure as head of the U.N. nuclear watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency. It is believed he will challenge Mubarak in 2011 elections.

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