Kuwait executed seven people convicted of murder and other crimes on Wednesday for the first time since 2017, drawing criticism from the European Commission which said that Kuwait’s envoy to the EU in Brussels had been summoned.
Three Kuwaiti men and one woman, a Syrian man, a Pakistani man and an Ethiopian woman were executed at the Gulf Arab state’s Central Prison, the Public Prosecution said in a statement posted on Twitter.
“It is regrettable that despite raising this yesterday and having received assurances to the contrary, Kuwait went ahead with 7 executions today,” Margaritis Schinas, European Commission vice president for promoting the European way of life, said in statement on Twitter.
Schinas said the European Union strongly opposes the death penalty and that the EU’s diplomatic service has summoned Kuwait’s ambassador to the EU in Brussels. The executions would be raised in discussions on the Commission’s proposal to put Kuwait on the visa-free list, Schinas added.
Kuwait’s Foreign Minister Sheikh Salem Abdullah al-Sabah, in remarks carried by the state news agency KUNA on Thursday, rejected any interference “from anyone and especially our friends” in Kuwait’s internal affairs or judicial process.
“The decisions of our judicial apparatus are independent without any interference from inside or outside Kuwait,” KUNA quoted him as saying.
Kuwait’s Public Prosecution said murder warranted the “strongest punishment of execution” which also acts as a “deterrent” to others.
In January 2017, Kuwait hanged a prince in the ruling Al-Sabah family for premeditated murder alongside six other prisoners, in what appeared to be the first execution of a member of the royal family in the Gulf Arab state.
Those executions had been the first in Kuwait since 2013.