ROME (AP) — A Bidoon poet and activist who holds US citizenship said on Tuesday that Kuwait forced her against her will after she traveled to the oil-rich country to visit family. He said he planned to repatriate him.
Mona Kareem, 35, told The Associated Press that she was sitting on the floor of Kuwait International Airport after facing questioning after arriving by plane from Beirut. This community is made up of descendants of desert nomads who are considered stateless by the government.
Kareem described himself as having been expelled from Kuwait since 2011 after obtaining a scholarship abroad with temporary travel documents. He then earned U.S. citizenship and a passport while earning a PhD in Comparative Literature from the State University of New York at Binghamton.
She said she traveled to Kuwait last summer with a US passport and was able to visit her six siblings and parents who still live there. Kuwait, slightly smaller than the US state of New Jersey, is one of the world’s leading oil producers and a dictatorship ruled by an emir.
The Kuwait Ministry of Information did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Kareem has previously pledged not to get involved in political debates after being confronted with questions about her activities and Bidoon. . Bidoon means “without” in Arabic.
Kareem runs a website on the Bidoon issue and has previously spoken out publicly about their treatment in Kuwait.
“This is a very extreme measure,” Kareem told The Associated Press. “This does not happen to US citizens.”
She said authorities told her to catch a flight back to Beirut on Tuesday night.
Calls to U.S. Embassy officials in Kuwait were unanswered, and the State Department did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
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