Kuwaiti Police Arrest 12 Stateless Arabs for Bus-Burning Protest
Kuwaiti police have arrested 12 stateless Arabs, or bedouns, for burning two government buses in protest at the instigation of legal action against those with invalid residency papers, newspapers said Wednesday.
Al-Qabas said three bedouns set fire to two buses parked in a police station in Jahra, a town 50 kilometers west of Kuwait City, which has the largest concentration of bedoun.
The arsonists also left a note saying "Beware of Bedoun".
Kuwait last week launched legal action against tens of thousands of bedouns whom it accuses of forgery, staying illegally and supplying false information.
A public prosecutor Tuesday sentenced five bedoun men, one of them still at large, to 21 days detention pending completion of investigations. Arrest warrants have been issued against 14 others.
Kuwait officially has 102,000 bedouns and charges that many of them crossed into Kuwait from neighboring countries, mainly Iraq, after the oil boom of the 1950s.
The government has agreed to give Kuwaiti citizenship to the 36,000 bedouns who registered in Kuwait's first census in 1965. The remaining 66,000 were excluded and given until June 27th to legalize their status.
So far around 12,000 of the bedouns in question have either proved their original nationality or obtained citizenship of other countries. Another 8,000 more have legalized their status or pledged to do so.
The bedouns, most of whom were born in the Gulf state, have generally lived in Kuwait for several decades and protest they have been deprived of Kuwaiti citizenship because the nationality law is not being applied correctly.
Kuwaiti MPs on Tuesday slammed the government's actions against the bedouns - KUWAIT CITY (AFP)
© 2000 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)