Published On: Tue, Jan 22nd, 2013

Kuwait: Social Media Rallies Behind Hunger Strike of Stateless Activist

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Social Media Reactions to the hunger strike of Kuwaiti activist Abdulhakim AlFadhli.

By Mona Kareem from Global Voices

On January 16, stateless activist Abdulhakim AlFadhli entered hunger strike in prison right after getting a two-year jail sentence. The court charged the activist with attacking a policeman in a protest last March. The activist stated that this charge, among others, is fabricated against him because of his political activism in demanding the rights of Kuwait’s stateless community. AlFadhli was arrested earlier last month with his brother Abdulnasser AlFadhli, who was acquitted in the same case and released. Here is a translated excerpt of his statement, as published by Jadaliyya:

At 7p.m. on 16 January 2013, I officially announce from this freedom cell in Kuwait’s Central Jail that I will go on an indefinite hunger strike in protest of the injustice and the cases fabricated unfairly against me by the security system. They are trying to destroy my life, reputation, future, and freedom. They are torturing me to force me to stop my activism for the cause of the stateless of Kuwait. I will not stop my hunger strike until: 1) I am released;
2) Cases fabricated against me are dropped; 3) The formation of a national nonpartisan committee to investigate cases of kidnapping, arrests, torture, and fabrications against activists, including my own case.
Most probably, this will be my last message to you for the time being as I am sure there will be repercussions after this message is released to the media and the public. I know I will be put into solitary confinement, away from the light of the sun and people, to punish me for exercising my right to defend my freedom through a hunger strike.

Right after his statement, the community protested in Taimaa area against the jail sentence. Here are some photographs from the protest shared on Twitter:

(Posted by @HumanRightsKW)

(Posted by @a_miyah)

A protester wearing a T-shirt with the activist’s picture and his famous line “Do not give up your right” (posted by @robn_hod)

Twitter users in Kuwait have been posting messages of solidarity with AlFadhli. An account dedicated to human rights in Kuwait posted the following video in which AlFadhli was interviewed:

لهذا سجن عبدالحكيم الفضلي سنتين… تقرير عن قمع الكويتيين البدون وحديث لعبدالحكيم…

@rightskw: This video is why AlFadhli got two years in jail. It is a report about repression of Bedoon [stateless] in which Abdulhakim was interviewed

Stateless activist Ahmed AlAounan wrote:

يدخل معتقلنا البطل عبدالحكيم الفضلي يومه السادس من إضرابه عن الطعام وسط تردي وضعه الصحي وصمت مؤسسات المجتمع المدني صمود ياحر

@ahmedal3onan: Our detainee the hero Abdulhakim AlFadhli is entering his sixth day in hunger strike as his health condition gets worse and NGOs keep silent. Solidarity with this free man.

Another activist reported AlFadhli’s health condition:

للتو تأكدت أن عبدالحكيم الفضلي سقط مغشياً عليه داخل الزنزانة وقام المساجين بطلب الامن وتم اسعافه الى عيادة السجن لاضرابة لليوم الخامس

@alnssar1: I just got confirmed news that AlFadhli fainted in his cell, other prisoners called the security, and he was taken to the prison clinic after 5 days of hunger strike.

وهو يعاني من آلام بسبب الاضراب الحاد وتحديداً في الكلى اليسرى وهو الان في عيادة السجن

@alnssar1: He suffers because of his hunger strike especially in his left kidney. He is still in the prison clinic.

Several others, reacting to the activist’s health condition, called on him to stop his strike:

أنا فلاح الثويني .. أناشد عبدالحكيم الفضلي أن يتوقف عن الإضراب عن الطعام

@althuwaini: I am Falah AlThuwaini. I call on Abdulhakim AlFadhli to stop his hunger strike.

أناشد عبدالحكيم الفضلي أن يتوقف عن الإضراب عن الطعام نحتاج لأمثالك للدفاع عن القضية الانسانية الاولى

@Fatma_alhayyan: I call on Abdulhakim AlFadhli to stop his hunger strike. We need people like you to defend the no. 1 human rights cause here.

Another Twitter user wrote in solidarity:

كم موجع هذا الصمت ياشعب الكويت ! كم موجع هذا الصمت يامن تقرأ هذه التغريدة ! #عبدالحكيم_الفضلي في السجن ويؤلمه هذا الصمت وهو مضرب عن الطعام

@Nietzsche69k: How painful this silence is, Kuwaiti people! How painful this silence, you who read this tweet! Abdulhakim AlFadhli is in jail and is suffering in pain because of this silence as he hunger strikes.

After a few days, a Twitter user named “Anonymous Stateless” started a hashtag for AlFadhli’s case:

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