Kuwait to deport 23 expats over mass brawl

2015-10-27 21:06
Sheikh Mohammad Khaled Al-Sabah (AP)

Sheikh Mohammad Khaled Al-Sabah (AP)

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Kuwait City - Kuwaiti authorities will deport without trial 17 Egyptians and six Syrians after they were involved in a mass brawl over a commercial dispute, an information ministry official said on Tuesday.

The official denied media reports that the men were being deported after allegedly beating up a Kuwaiti citizen. The reports had also put the number of Egyptians at 18.

"The men participated in [a] brawl and damaged vehicles in an industrial area near Kuwait City," the information ministry official told AFP.

"There was no [Kuwaiti] citizen involved in the case," he said, requesting anonymity.

Citing a security source, Al-Anbaa newspaper reported on Tuesday that the interior ministry had begun procedures to cancel the men's residency permits and deport them. Their families were also to be deported.

The oil-rich Gulf state deports thousands of foreigners every year for a variety of offences, from brawling to traffic violations to failing to renew residency permits.

Human rights groups have criticised the emirate's policy of deporting expats without trial.

The measure against the 23 came after Interior Minister Sheikh Mohammad Khaled Al-Sabah, a senior member of Kuwait's ruling family, ordered the arrest of the foreigners involved in the brawl.

A short video of the incident was posted on the internet on Sunday, showing a group of men carrying sticks and chasing a man.

The man was wearing Kuwaiti national dress, but the ministry official said he was in fact one of the Syrians who was to be deported.

The official provided no further information on the incident, including on the causes of the brawl.

The Kuwaiti cabinet in its weekly meeting Monday praised "decisive security measures" taken against a group of expatriates involved in the incident.

The men are being deported without a trial or a court order, under powers legally accorded to the interior ministry.

Kuwait is home to 2.9 million foreigners, mostly from India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, the Philippines, Egypt and Syria, as well as 1.3 million native Kuwaitis.

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