Crim­i­nal laws in Kuwait

Kuwait Times - - LOCAL - By At­tor­ney Fa­jer Ahmed

What con­sti­tutes a crime varies from one coun­try to an­other, and what might be a so­cial norm in one coun­try can be a se­ri­ous crime in an­other. There­fore, it is im­por­tant to ex­plain crimes pun­ish­able un­der Kuwaiti law to the large ex­pat com­mu­nity liv­ing here.

I usu­ally re­frain from writ­ing about crim­i­nal laws in Kuwait, be­cause con­tro­ver­sial top­ics such as sex­ual crimes, drug traf­fick­ing, steal­ing and so on are usu­ally avoided by my read­ers and those who write to me. Even when I do dis­cuss such top­ics with them, they tend to use fake names or re­fer to the sit­u­a­tion as if it hap­pened to a third party.

I am writ­ing to­day though be­cause I re­ally do be­lieve that such top­ics should be dis­cussed. We all make mis­takes and we are all ca­pa­ble of get­ting into trou­ble with the law - it is not for any­one to judge an­other per­son’s ac­tions. I also be­lieve that the law should be ac­ces­si­ble to ev­ery­one. We should learn to dis­cuss things more openly in Kuwait and we should ac­knowl­edge that mis­takes do hap­pen, by all par­ties. So to­day I have cho­sen ques­tions about crim­i­nal laws that may be more ben­e­fi­cial to an ex­pat read­er­ship, and this is be­cause I know the ma­jor­ity of my read­ers are ex­pats.

De­por­ta­tion

Ques­tion: Can I get de­ported for a crime? Fa­jer: Yes, you can get de­ported for a crime. This is the most im­por­tant ques­tion - please un­der­stand that de­por­ta­tion has been an op­tion for gov­ern­ment of­fi­cials for ex­pats who vi­o­late the law. It doesn’t even have to be a se­ri­ous crime for you to be de­ported - it could be im­mi­gra­tion is­sues as well, such as your res­i­dency ex­pir­ing.

Ques­tion: If so, what hap­pens be­fore I get de­ported?

Fa­jer: There are two types of de­por­ta­tion ad­min­is­tra­tive and ju­di­cial. I don’t want to com­pli­cate things, so I won’t get into de­tails, but I will ex­plain what hap­pens, for let’s say, hav­ing an ex­pired res­i­dency or if an ab­scond­ing case was filed against you. You will be taken to the po­lice sta­tion and then trans­ferred to a jail. You will be kept there for a few days un­til a ticket is booked for you to go back to your coun­try. If you are de­ported, you will be banned from en­ter­ing Kuwait and pos­si­bly the GCC for some time, de­pend­ing on the rea­son of de­por­ta­tion.

Ques­tion: Is any­one ex­empt from be­ing de­ported?

Fa­jer: An­swer­ing this ques­tion is com­pli­cated, but sim­ply put, other than diplo­mats, chil­dren and hus­bands of Kuwaiti women are ex­empt.

Blood tests

Ques­tion: I know a lot of Euro­pean coun­tries have de­crim­i­nal­ized cannabis, yet ev­ery­one knows that Kuwait is very strict when it comes to cannabis use. I want to know whether it would show up in my blood? How strict is Kuwait? I ask th­ese ques­tions be­cause I am about to get tested for my new job and I am very ner­vous. I have not smoked in Kuwait, but I did smoke in Europe this sum­mer. Can I still get legally pun­ished?

Fa­jer: First of all, I can­not say if traces of any drugs will show up in your blood test, be­cause it de­pends what kind of test has been done, what drugs have you con­sumed/in­haled and when you did so. This is a very non-le­gal tech­ni­cal ques­tion that I can­not an­swer.

Drugs in Kuwait by reg­u­la­tions are listed into three cat­e­gories re­gard­ing how se­ri­ous or harm­ful the drug is, and there­fore the pu­n­ish­ments dif­fer ac­cord­ing to the cat­e­gory the drug is in un­der. Cannabis is il­le­gal in Kuwait in ac­cor­dance to ar­ti­cle 208, where a per­son that uses mar­i­juana for per­sonal use and in pri­vate can re­ceive up to two years jail and/or a fine not ex­ceed­ing KD 2,000.

From my ex­pe­ri­ence, pri­vately tested blood/urine tests for em­ploy­ers are not shared with the pub­lic pros­e­cu­tion. Also, if you have smoked cannabis in a coun­try where it is le­gal, then you have noth­ing to worry about it, as you can eas­ily prove you were in that coun­try at that time.

There are other crim­i­nal is­sues that ex­pats deal with reg­u­larly that I want to dis­cuss in next week’s le­gal col­umn, and this in­cludes fraud­u­lent com­pa­nies that use em­ploy­ees’ credit cards to with­draw money as well as ab­scond­ing. If you have any is­sues, please feel free to email me.

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