Capital punishment in Kuwait 1964 to 2013.


Kuwait is a small monarchy in the Middle East, with a population of around three and a half million people, headed by the Amir who governs with a Council of Ministers. It gained independence from Britain on the 19th of June 1961 and approved its constitution on the 11th of November 1962.


The Kuwaiti judicial system is based on the Egyptian model, being a mixture of Islamic Sharia law, English common law, and the Ottoman civil code. It retains capital punishment, using a modified form of British style hanging and has carried out 72 executions (69 men and three women) between April 1964 and May 2007. No executions have been reported from May 2007 to March 2013, although a small number of new death sentences have been handed down.  After nearly six years, executions resumed on the 1st of April 2013, when three murderers were hanged.  (see later)


Kuwaiti law does not allow the execution of the insane or persons under 18 years of age. Capital cases are automatically reviewed by the Court of Appeal, and if upheld, are referred to the Court of Cassation, the country’s highest court, before being sent to the Amir for ratification. Once they have been approved by the Amir, an execution order is issued by the chief justice and passed to the prosecutor general.

Since1969, terrorist and treason trials have been tried before the State Security Court.


On the 25th of April 1995, the National Assembly passed a Law on the Combat of Drugs which extended the use of the death penalty for several drug related crimes.

Up to 1985, hangings were carried out in public at the Nayef Palace Square and after that within Central Prison.  The gallows there was probably built by the British and only had capacity for one prisoner at a time.  A British style noose was used with a brass eyelet and leather covered rope. A measured drop was given and executions were carried out at 8.00 a.m.
There were no executions in the Kingdom between August 1989 and May 1993. Since the 30th of June 2002, executions have again been carried out at the Nayef Palace, pictured here, but in semi-private. After a hanging, the public and press have been allowed to see the dangling bodies. Press photographers film the aftermath and the pictures are published in the hope that this will prove to be a greater deterrent. New steel gallows have been constructed, each with a double leaf trap for a single prisoner. The platforms are reached by a flight of steps. Underneath the platform there are steel step ups for use by the medical and execution staff to attend the prisoner after the execution.


At least since 1988, the condemned prisoner has been dressed in a white T-shirt and brown tunic and trousers.  His arms and legs are pinioned with leather straps and his head covered by a black hood. The execution team wear black boiler suits and black ski masks to conceal their identities. Condemned prisoners are kept in solitary confinement and are allowed to see their relatives prior to their deaths.

When Ayub Shah and Othman Ghani Mehrab Khan were hanged on the 11th of January 2005, there were pictures published showing the head of one of them being torn off by the force of the drop. This would not be a unique occurrence in the history of hanging, and may have been due to a miscalculation of the length of the drop or to the prisoner having a weak neck.


Only three women have been executed in Kuwait since independence. They were Indians, Alice Norban Barissi and Farida Taher Sheeh, who were hanged on the 11th of September 1988 for drowning their male victim in his bathtub and robbing him.  The third woman was a 24 year old Indian maid named Qadeer Kaleeja, who had been convicted of strangling her 80 year old Kuwaiti employer, Aisha Al Fadalah, in her bed in 1999 and then stealing her money and jewellery.  Kaleeja telephoned the victim's sons to inform them of their mother's death by "natural causes," but police called to the scene grew suspicious of scratches on the maid's face and arrested her.  She was hanged in private on the 17th of June 2001.


Here is a list of those hanged since 1964.






Khamis Mubarak


Murder of his brother


Mallek Omar




Rahim Mohammad


Murder of a relative


Turki Abdel Karim


Murder of a family of three


Ohammad Sharif Nazir




Hamid Shalal,
Khaled Al-Wadi &
Hahmid Hussein


Abducting, raping and killing two young girls


Fira Fan Nowonk & Noi Nima


Robbery murder of a shop owner


Jassem Al-Doussari


Robbery murder of three people


Jassem Al-Shumari


Robbery murder of a man


Salim Suleiman Eid


Robbery murder of a man


Unnamed man


Murder of his wife


Nadi 'Abu al-Hamad Uthman


Murder of fellow Egyptian


Ranja Suami


Murder and theft


Ayad Faihan




Abbas 'Aziz Wanan Shamkhi




Alice Norban Barissi  (f)
Farida Taher Sheeh  (f)


Murder & burglary


Fransisco Arango


Double murder


Abdel Hassan Khodor


Murder of a Kuwaiti border guard


Kamel Mattar

Bedoun **

Murder of a relative


Mohammad Kulaib Sriouil Al-Rashidi


Abducting and raping a girl of 10


Mohammad Najib Ahmad Massoud


Killing a shop owner


Ahmad Raja Ayed Al-Azemi


Murder of bridegroom and another man at wedding


Turki Mohammad Rafaa

(Bedoun **)

Abducting, raping and killing a 15 year old girl


Captain Bader Abdel Karim Sultan Al-Bashir


Murder of a Syrian woman


Hamdi Abdel Azim & Hassan Abdel Hadi


Murder of Kuwaiti citizen


Hamad al-Hajeri, Musaed bou Gaith and Badr Zaid al-Mutairi


Murder of two men
Sexual assault and murder


Hassan Burnaymi,
Hassan Maye Salmin &
Yassin Baoa Abdel Ghafur

Sri Lankan

Drug trafficking

Drug trafficking

Murder and rape


Matar al-Mutairi


Robbery murder


Qadeer Kaleeja (f) (24)


Murder and theft from her employer


Fahd Abdullah Ali


Murder of colleague


Anwar Khan Mohammed,
Anwar al-Zamman &
Mohammed Abdul-Sattar


Murder of Sri Lankan maid


Fazel Shirin Mohammad Sherif


Drug trafficking


Shafiq Nathir Hussein &
Mohammad Assef Ahmad


Drug trafficking
Kidnap and murder


Marzook Saad Suleiman Al-Saeed
Saeed Saad Suleiman Al-Saeed &
Hamad Mubarak Turki Al-Dihani


Abduction, rape and murder of a 6 year old girl.


Ghannam Abdullah al-Mutairi


Murder of a friend


Uwaisdeen Abdurabi Nistar & Abdulhassan Mohammad Ajmeer

Sri Lankan

Murder of a Canadian citizen


Ayub Shah &
Othman Ghani Mehrab Khan


Drug trafficking


Syed Mudassar Shah, Muhammad Ahmad Khan, Faiz Muhammad Umar, and Abdul Basar Umar


Drug trafficking


Thamer Marzouq Al-Azmi




Mayan Mohammad Iqbal
Farraj Mansour Nasser Al-Rukaibi
Saad Iklaifeekh Tammah Al-Mutairi
Mohammad Al-Shimmiri


Drug trafficking
Rape & murder of girl
Kidnap and rape of girl


Shakarullah Ansari




Taj Muhammad Abdulghani, Abdulraheem Nadershah,

Jahangeer Alam Ameer &
Faraj Jawda Majood


Drug trafficking

Drug trafficking

Murder of a fellow Bangladeshi


Sanjaya Rowan Kumara

Sri Lankan

Murder of an Asian woman


Khan Anwar Islam


Drug trafficking


Faisal Al Utaibi,
Pervez Ghulam
Dhaher Al Utaibi

Bedoun **



Hajjaj Mohammad Adel Al-Saadi
Ahmad Abdulsalam Al-Baili


Serial child rape
Double murder

** Kuwait is home to some 180,000 stateless Arabs, known as "bedoun" - Arabic for "without" - who were originally members of nomadic tribes.


Drug addiction is a serious problem in Kuwait with an estimated 20,000 addicts.  As a result, the laws on drug trafficking were strengthened in May 1997 and allowed for the death penalty for this offence.  The first to be hanged under this amendment were two Iranians, Hassan Burnaymi and Hassan Maye, who were executed on the 25th of May 1998, after the Court of Cassation upheld their death sentences.  They were arrested while they were delivering 57.5 kilogrammes of hashish, one kilogramme of opium and one kilogramme of heroin to an undercover police agent on Qaru Island.

A Sri Lankan, Yassin Baoa Abdel Ghafur, was also hanged at the same time having been convicted of the rape and murder of his Sri Lankan lover, Hama Doogi Mohammad Qassem, by smashing her head with a rock in the desert.

To get home the anti drugs message, official photographers were allowed to take pictures of the executions within Central Prison and these were published in the Kuwaiti press.  Here we see one of the Iranians hanging and Yassin Ghafur being prepared. Seventeen men have been executed for drug offences to date.

The first semi-public hangings took place on the 30th of June 2002 when three Bangladeshis convicted of raping and murdering a Sri Lankan maid were hanged despite appeals from the Bangladesh government. Anwar Khan Mohammed, Anwar al-Zamman and Mohammed Abdul-Sattar went to the gallows in the Nayef Palace courtyard and the public were allowed to view their bodies minutes afterwards. "This achieves public deterrence," the prosecutor-general, Hamed al-Othman, said. "No doubt, this will cut down on crime in our country." Hamid Salih al-Uthman, the Public Prosecutor, told the press conference after the executions "the 1st suspect passed away 9 minutes after being hanged, 2nd suspect after 13 minutes and the 3rd after 12 minutes."


As you will see from the table above the rate of executions increased considerably over the 2004 to 2006 period and then abruptly ceased after May 2007.



On the 31st of May 2004, another three executions were carried out simultaneously at 8.15 a.m. in the courtyard of the Nayef Palace.  The criminals, two Saudi nationals, Marzook Saad Suleiman Al-Saeed, aged 25, Saeed Saad Suleiman Al-Saeed, aged 28 and 24 year old Kuwaiti Hamad Mubarak Turki Al-Dihani, had been convicted of the abduction, rape and murder of a six year old girl.  It was a particularly appalling crime that had received a great deal of media coverage.  Their victim, Amna Al-Khaledi, was kidnapped from her home on the 1st of May 2002 and driven to a remote desert area, where she was gang raped and stabbed five times in the chest before her throat was slit.  The three men were arrested some three weeks after Amna’s body was discovered.  They had murdered Amna in a so called honour killing to avenge a sexual relationship between her elder brother, Adel Al-Khaledi, and Al-Saeed's sister.  Amna’s brother was given a five year prison term for having the illicit sexual relationship.
(Honour killings are committed to avenge a perceived affront to a family's honour, such as an out of wedlock relationship or a female relative marrying without her parents' consent.)  A third Saudi, Latifa Mandil Suleiman Al-Saeed, a 21-year-old female cousin of the two brothers, was sentenced to life in prison for taking part in the abduction.
Some 1,000 people, including Amna’s relatives, were at Nayef Palace to see the aftermath of the executions according to Interior Ministry spokesman Lt. Col. Adel Al-Hashshash.  Incongruous photographs appeared in the press the next day showing the hanging bodies with Kuwaiti women in full Islamic dress taking photos of them with their state of the art mobile phones.  The bodies were taken down some 20 minutes after the execution and covered with white sheets.  The head of the Penal Execution Department, Najeeb Al-Mulla, announced that it took Hamad Al-Dehani approximately 6 minutes to die, while the two Saudi brothers were timed was 8 ˝ minutes and 5 ˝ minutes res[ectively. Saeed Al-Saeed and Marzouq Al-Saeed had asked for their remains to be buried in Saudi Arabia and the three convicted asked for the authorities to donate a charity project in their names.

Pictures of their executions appeared in the Kuwaiti press. Click here to see one (warning graphic).



On the 11th of January 2005, two men of Pakistani origin, Ayub Bani Shah and Othman Ghani Mehrab Khan, were hanged for drug trafficking. Shah and Khan had been found guilty of smuggling heroin and hashish into the Kingdom. One man’s head was torn off by the force of the drop.

Four more Pakistani men were hanged at the Nayef Palace on the 2nd of October 2005 for drug offences.  They were Mohammed Ahmed Khan, 33, Abdul-Basir Abudl-Hai Mohammed Ishaq, 50, Faz Mohammed Youssef Khan, 32, and Sayyed Modather Shah Hikmat, 26.  They had been found guilty of smuggling heroin by swallowing it in capsules. Customs officials at Kuwait International Airport suspected them of smuggling as they entered the country on different dates in 2002 with forged passports.
A further four Pakistani drugs smugglers went to the gallows on Saturday, the 3rd of December 2005.  They were 30 year old
Syed Mudassar Shah from Charsadda, Muhammad Ahmad Khan, aged 29 from Bara, Faiz Muhammad Umar, aged 30 from Charsadda, and Abdul Basar Umar, aged 51, from Swabi.

Twenty one year old Kuwaiti, Thamer Marzouq Al-Azmi, was hanged at 9.00 a.m. on Wednesday, the 21st of December for the shooting murder of Adel Lafi Al-Azmi. He had also been convicted of abducting and molesting a minor, Mona Daghmi Al-Azmi.


The largest number of hangings in one day in Kuwait occurred on Tuesday the 2nd of May 2006 when a Pakistani, an Indian and three Kuwaiti men were executed for various crimes at the Nayef Palace, amid tight security. Mayan Mohammad Iqbal Mayan, the Pakistani, had been found guilty of drug trafficking.  Indian national, Sami-Allah Ansari was hanged for the murder of his sponsor, Khalid Al-Sharrah, possessing firearms and ammunition and stealing money from his victim before burying the body. These two men were executed at 8.20 a.m. and were followed 40 minutes later by the three Kuwaitis.  They were Farraj Mansour Nasser Al-Rukaibi, Al-Mulla said he had been found guilty of kidnapping, rape and murder.  Saad Iklaifeekh Tammah Al-Mutairi who had been convicted of murder and possession of weapons and firearms and Mohammad Mitab Mohammad Qathban Al-Shimmiri convicted of kidnapping and rape.
On the 11th of July 2006, Indian, Shakarullah Ansari, was hanged at 8.15 am for the murder of his employer in 2003.

A further multiple execution occurred on the 21st of November.  Pakistani national, 22-year-old Taj Mohammed Abdulghani was executed for smuggling approximately 800 gm of heroin into Kuwait.  26-year-old Abdulraheem Nadershah, also from Pakistan was hanged for possessing and selling approximately four kilograms of heroin. With them was 33-year-old Bangladeshi Jahangeer Alam Ameer who was executed for hacking to death his fellow countryman, Moshtak Ahmad Kutumiyah, with a cleaver on the 30th of December 2004 and 37 year old Bedoun Faraj Jawda Majood who had been sentenced to death for stabbing to death Sameer Khuder Al-Dhafiri on the 1st of March 2004.  These executions were carried out in private within Central Prison, some 25 km west of Kuwait City. 


A fifth man was supposed to be executed with these four, but his execution was postponed and took place on the 28th of November 2006. Sri Lankan national, Sanjaya Rowan Kumara, had been convicted of the murder an Asian woman during a robbery.  He too was executed within Central Prison and was taken down from the gallows after eight minutes, the prison doctor having pronounced him dead.  When he was being taken to the mortuary, staff noticed some movement and examination revealed a weak pulse.  He was finally certified dead at two o’clock in the afternoon having survived for nearly five hours.



Pakistani national Khan Anwar Islam who had been convicted of drug trafficking was hanged on Sunday the 20th of May for trying to smuggle 813g of heroin into the kingdom.


2008 – March 2013.

No executions have been recorded in this period although 48 prisoners, including at least two women, both Kuwaiti, were on death row as of the 31st of March 2013.



At 8.00 am on the 1st of April 2013, three men were hanged at Central Prison for separate murders.  They were a Saudi citizen, Faisal Al Utaibi, for stabbing his friend to death, Pakistani, Pervez Ghulam, who was executed for strangling a couple to death and Dhaher Al Utaibi, (Bedoun) who was hanged for killing his wife, son and daughter and attempting to kill another daughter.

The execution was fully photographed and partially videoed (here), unlike previous semi public ones, where only the aftermath was allowed to be photographed, to provide maximum deterrent effect.    The three were bought to the place of execution in prison vans.  The crimes and sentences were read to them and then led up the steps of the grey painted gallows (pictures here and here) each by two officers wearing black balaclavas and positioned over individual trap doors.  The prisoners’ legs were strapped and the hoods and nooses applied. A senior officer gave the signal by dropping a black flag for the executioners to pull the levers simultaneously.
Apparently executions have resumed in response to the rise of violent crime in the Kingdom.


A further two hangings were carried at 8.00 am on the 18th of June 2013, when Egyptians, Hajjaj Mohammad Adel Al-Saadi - known as the "Hawally Monster" and Ahmad Abdulsalam Al-Baili were executed.  Al-Saadi had been convicted of the abduction and rape of 17 boys and girls in the Hawally area of Kuwait over a 10 year period.  Al-Baili had set fire to the home of an Asian couple, both of whom perished in the blaze. He had also attempted another similar crime but his intended victims lived.  The procedure for these hangings is the same as the three in April, however this execution was filmed in full unlike previous ones.  The Kuwait Times published this graphic video on their YouTube chanel.


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