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Kuwait Juvenile age now lowered to 16 years

The Juvenile age in Kuwait has now been lowered to 16 from 18 years. Kuwaiti teenagers have been warned that they could face the death penalty or heavy imprisonment for certain crimes.

Beginning next year, anyone aged 16 or more, arrested in a crime, will be tried by a regular court and not a juvenile court, which implies death penalty for certain crimes, Bader Al Ghadhoori, Head of juvenile protection at the Interior Ministry said.

Everybody, particularly students and their parents should be careful about the significance of the change in the application of the law, he said when speaking during a forum on risks of misusing social media.

As per the current juvenile law, criminal penalties are applicable only to those aged 18 years or above, and only special penalties are applied to those under 18.

Highlighting the importance of surfing websites and use of social media, Al Ghadhoori warned against negative aspects. The official said most dangerous risks pertain to online sites involve disturbances, demonstrations, mass absenteeism by students, strikes, underground organizations, drug trafficking groups, alcohol, sex tourism, and other organized crime.

Al Ghadhoori said some websites particularly undermine relations with friendly countries, incite attacks on leaders and religious figures, provoke sectarian and tribal feuds, ridicule and deride others and spread rumours.

Last year, Kuwait Parliament approved a new law for delinquent juveniles which lowered age of minors from 18 to 16 years. However, several activists said that the new juvenile age would be a violation of teenagersí rights, and that young people should not be treated like adults, and a better option would be to slightly toughen their sentences.

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