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Tue 17 Oct 2017 02:53 PM

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Kuwait said to scrap DNA testing law

Human Rights Watch says Gulf nation has dropped controversial counterterrorism law

Kuwait said to scrap DNA testing law
(David Silverman/Getty Images - for illustrative purposes only)

Kuwait has dropped a controversial counterterrorism law mandating DNA testing for all citizens, residents and visitors which had been passed following a 2015 suicide attack, Human Rights Watch said Tuesday.

"The court's decision to overturn the DNA law is a very positive step that ends this misguided and hastily passed invasion of privacy in Kuwait," said Sarah Leah Whitson, Middle East director at HRW.

The law was passed by parliament in 2015 after a suicide bombing at a Shiite mosque in the capital which killed 26 people and wounded 227 others.

Najd Province, the Saudi Arabian affiliate of the Islamic State group, claimed the June 2015 suicide attack. The Sunni Muslim network considers Shiites heretics.

Kuwait's consitutional court, which oversees the compliance of law with the constitution, ruled on October 5 the DNA law unconstitutional on the grounds that it contravened articles on personal liberty.

The legislation -- which made Kuwait the only country to require compulsory DNA testing -- had required citizens, foreign residents and visitors and tourists to submit DNA samples for storage in a database run by the interior ministry.

Those who failed to comply could be jailed and fined $33,000 (29,700 euros).

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