Kuwait Law: Passport Rights

Post by Fajer Ahmed

THE QUESTION
Hey Fajer, I work for a private company in Kuwait and the company has my passport (and other employees) and refuses to keep it with us because they’re afraid we might leave the country. Do they have a right to keep our passports? I was told they don’t but I’m afraid if I make a big issue out of this then I might get fired.

THE RESPONSE
So this question/answer is only for private company employees

Do employers have the right to keep an employees passport?

No, No and NOOOOO!

This is a very common question, at work and now from my readers on the blog.

Why is it illegal?

The Ministry resolution number 143/A/2010 says in (Article 1) “It is prohibited for private sector employers and oil sector employers to hold traveling documents of their employees”

Then (Article 2) mentions a punishment from the labor law for employers in the private sector who do not follow (Article 1). The punishment mentioned in (Article 141) from the labor law is as follows:

“In the event where the violator does not remedy the violation within the specified period, he shall be subject to a fine of not less than KD100 and not more than KD200 for each of the workers who are involved in the violation. In the event of recurrence within three years from the date of the final judgment, the punishment shall be doubled.” This means that your employer will get fined KD100-200 for keeping your passport.

Can you get fired?

No, No and NOOOOO!

You can not get fired except for reasons stated in the law which I won’t get into now but basically non of them is for telling your boss to be legal.

I want everyone to know the following for any labor law violations by your employers in the future:

– There is a hotline you can call (no one picked up when I called) 128

– There is a site where you can file a complaint (no one replied to me yet) http://www.mosal.gov.kw/

– There is also an NGO organized by Bibi Nasser called Social Work Society of Kuwait located in mishref www.q8sws.com Tel: 25375031 they might be able to help you with issues, even though most of their work is for domestic and construction workers

– According to the labor law, if you have a complaint against your employer, the Minstry of Labor and Social affairs will look into it before it gets to court and will try to resolve it

– If it does go to court, the court has exempted laborers from any court fees

– I sat with officials 2 weeks ago from the Minstry of Labor and Social Affairs for a research paper by John Hopkins about domestic workers in Kuwait and their rights. The officials I met with told me that an employee who’s passport is held by their employer can come in if he or she really needs to travel and get a paper from them that will allow the employee to travel

Fajer Ahmed – Legal Counsel
Have a Kuwait law related question? Email me at fajer.ar@gmail.com

The legal opinions expressed in this post are those of the author Fajer. Opinions expressed by Mark or any other writer on 248am.com are those of the individual’s and in no way reflect Fajer’s opinion.


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Capital Punishment
 in Kuwait

Post by Fajer Ahmed

There has been a lot of debate about the pros and cons of capital punishment in the past few days which is why I wanted to take the time to explain capital punishment in the Kuwaiti law.

What is the procedure before getting capital punishment?

So an accused gets three trials, when he gets a guilty verdict in a trial he HAS to appeal. If he doesn’t appeal then the public prosecution will appeal the case. Before being sentenced with capital punishment an accused has to be proven guilty three times in three different trials made up of different judges. After three different guilty verdicts, the accused get sentenced to capital punishment. But, even then, capital punishment would not be executed unless the highest authority signs off on the sentence.

Who is exempted from capital punishment?


What are the crimes that you would get capital punishment for?

The below apply to everyone, Kuwaiti or non Kuwaiti, visa or no visa, pretty or ugly… as long as you committed the crime in Kuwait.

– Murder, deliberate + premeditated by il will (Article 150 with a def in Article 151)

– Any person that kidnaps another person using force or threat or with the intent to kill, hurt or rape (Article 180)

– Sexual intercourse with a female without her consent and the accused was related to the girl, or was her teacher, her caretaker or her servant. (Article 186)

– Sexual intercourse with a female with her consent but the female is not mentally stable and the accused knew this or if the girl was under 15 years of age. In both cases the accused was related to the girl, or was her teacher, her caretaker or her servant. (Article 187)

– Capital punishment found in other Kuwaiti laws
 like national security crimes (treason for example)

– For growing, selling, buying or importing or exporting drugs the accused might get capital punishment. But, if you add any of the following points as well then the accused will get capital punishment:


1) The drug is cocaine, heroine, Acetyldihydrocodeine and Codeine

2) You’re a public employee
3) Used a minor to help with the drug crime

4) Its the accused 2nd time convicted of either growing, selling, buying or importing or exporting drugs

The above is based on the Kuwaiti law and not my opinion. If there is anything that isn’t clear leave a comment below and I will try to clarify it.

Fajer Ahmed – Legal Counsel
Have a Kuwait law related question? Email me at fajer.ar@gmail.com

The legal opinions expressed in this post are those of the author Fajer. Opinions expressed by Mark or any other writer on 248am.com are those of the individual’s and in no way reflect Fajer’s opinion.


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Kuwait Law Posts

Post by Mark

Last week a user in the forum posted asking for legal advice. His brother was accused of shoplifting and needed some legal advice. I asked my lawyer friend to look at his question and then it gave me an idea, how about Kuwait law related posts on this blog? Starting from today my friend Fajer is going to be posting every now and then on this blog answering law related questions, she’s already started with the post below on shoplifting. If you have any law related questions you could contact her on fajer.ar@gmail.com and we’ll be choosing the most interesting ones to answer on the blog. This should be interesting.


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Kuwait Law: Shoplifting

Post by Fajer Ahmed

Hi everyone, my name is Fajer and I’m a legal counsel at a local law firm. One of Mark’s forum users had a law related question and he thought it might be a good idea to get me involved on the blog with law related posts starting with the questions his forum user had. I’ll post the users problem first followed by my response below it.

THE PROBLEM
My brother was accused of shoplifting a packet of AAA batteries at a supermarket. He was leaving the supermarket when the detector at the exit started buzzing and they found the battery pack on him. It was by accident and he tried to explain that to them but he was arrested, booked and slapped with a robbery case as well as a travel ban.

My questions are the following:
1) What is the law here towards shoplifting?
2) Is it justifiable to send a guy to jail and keep him there for more than 24 hours without a case?
3) I heard from a friend of mine supermarkets usually don’t get first time offenders arrested and just end up paying a penalty instead is that true?
4) Is it possible to friendly settle this case out of court?

THE RESPONSE
The answer to your situation is not very straight forward but I will try to go through your questions and explain everything to you.

1) What is the law here towards shoplifting?
There is no specific law in Kuwait towards shoplifting but the act of shoplifting falls under the crime of robbery. The official English translation of the Kuwaiti criminal law describes robbery in Article 217 as “A person is guilty of robbery, if he embezzles movable property, owned by a third party, with the intent to acquire it” … ahhh lawyers and their confusing legal sentences… so wait lets break things down.

In every law, for any country, all crimes consist of two parts:

Point here is that you have to have intent to steal to be charged with robbery. If your brother forgot to pay for the batteries by accident, the verdict should be innocent but to get to that verdict you need to prove “Mens Rea”.

2) Is it justifiable to send a guy to jail and keep him there for more than 24 hours without a case?
According to the new criminal procedures law (and without getting into detail), the police officers have the right to hold someone up to 48hrs (it used to be longer) if they are accused of a crime. This would not be in prison but in a police station with the aim of starting an initial investigation before going to court. Their initial investigation might be to ask a few questions, find evidence and to figure out what laws apply.

3) I heard from a friend of mine supermarkets usually don’t get first time offenders arrested and just end up paying a penalty instead is that true?
Article 143 states that it is a crime to not report a robbery so the Supermarket was abiding by the law when they reported the crime to the police. Now some supermarkets might be more forgiving and let it slide, but, “letting it slide” is a crime on their part and so I could understand why some supermarkets wouldn’t want to let it slide.

An interesting fact, if you’re inside a supermarket and you pick up a chocolate bar, eat it and then leave the supermarket without paying for it, then you have not “taken the property from the possession of a third party” (as the law article goes on to define embazzlment) therefore you have not moved the object from the ownership of the supermarket and so is not defined as robbery. This definition caused a lot of problems in Kuwait because people were using services and not paying for them or eating at restaurants and not paying for the meal so another law was passed where it said that this action was not a crime… but you had to pay a fine of KD75 plus the cost of the service or food you ate. So most likely that’s the penalty you heard about.

4) Is it possible to friendly settle this case out of court?
No it is not possible to settle robbery cases in Kuwait. Some crimes in Kuwait like robbery are considered to be against the community and not just the supermarket and so one individual does not have the right to settle it. The criminal court needs to look into the case.

So I know you didn’t ask me this, but…

5) What is the punishment for robbery in Kuwait?
Article 219 of the criminal states the punishment as being up to 2 years of jail time or/and a fee of up to 2000 Rupees (yes the law is that old that the fees are still in Indian Rupees).

So this means that a judge can ask the accused to go to jail for 2 weeks or 2 months or 6 months and 3 days just as long as it is not more than 2 years. Or he can make you pay 100 rupees or 1500 rupees. He could also decide no punishment or both a jail time and fine. The judges have a lot of power here.

But the maximum isn’t always 2 years because Article 221 was added and changed it to 3 years for certain situations:

Hope the above helps you out. One more thing I forgot to mention, the cost of the item doesn’t matter so a packet of AAA batteries or a gold necklace are treated the same.

Fajer Ahmed – Legal Counsel
Have a Kuwait law related question? Email me at fajer.ar@gmail.com

The legal opinions expressed in this post are those of the author Fajer. Opinions expressed by Mark or any other writer on 248am.com are those of the individual’s and in no way reflect Fajer’s opinion.


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