Kuwaiti court acquits 67 stateless protesters

Kuwait`s lower court on Tuesday acquitted 67 stateless people charged with taking part in an illegal protest and assaulting police.

Kuwait City: Kuwait`s lower court on Tuesday acquitted 67 stateless people charged with taking part in an illegal protest and assaulting police.

The stateless men, locally known as bidoons, were arrested in October 2012 at a gathering to mark international non-violence day and demand the right to Kuwaiti citizenship and other rights.

Authorities charged them with participating in an illegal protest and assaulting police, which they denied in court. They were detained briefly and released on bail pending trial.

The ruling is not final as authorities can challenge it before the court of appeals and supreme court.

Tuesday`s ruling was not the first to acquit bidoon protesters but it included the largest number of defendants so far.

Around 110,000 stateless people were born and raised in the oil-rich Gulf emirate and claim the right to Kuwaiti citizenship.

But the government says only 34,000 of them qualify for consideration and that the rest hold other nationalities.

Over the past three years, bidoons have held demonstrations to demand citizenship and other basic rights, and police have dispersed them using force, arresting hundreds who are on trial.

MP Nabil al-Fadhl in April called on the government to send stateless people convicted of breaching public security to a camp he proposed be built in the desert.

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