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Mum jailed in Kuwait 'sick', son says
Jan 13, 2009


An Australian woman is being detained by Kuwaiti authorities over allegedly insulting the Emir.
A Sydney woman languishing in a Kuwaiti jail charged with insulting the Gulf country's ruling emir has stopped eating and is ill, her family says.

Mother of seven Nasrah Alshamery, 43, has been charged with insulting Sheikh Sabah IV Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah during an argument with security officers at Kuwait's airport on December 23.

Mrs Alshamery's daughter Wasa, 21, said the family of nine from Winston Hills in Sydney's north-west was traumatised by the ordeal and have pleaded for Australian government help to free their mother.

Australian consular officials were helping the family but could only provide limited help, Foreign Minister Stephen Smith said on Tuesday.

The family was on its first holiday in a decade and had already visited the United Arab Emirates, Jordan and Syria when they arrived in Kuwait.

The row started when Mrs Alshamery's 12-year-old son was shouted at by an airport guard after asking where to obtain visas, Wasa Alshamery said.

When her father, Soliman, told the officer to be polite, he was assaulted, she said.

"He pushed my dad and my dad fell on the ground," Ms Alshamery told AAP.

"The other security came running and punched my dad in his head."

At this point her six brothers became involved and the family was soon surrounded by 35 police and airport guards.

Ms Alshamery said when her mother threatened to seek diplomatic assistance, the security officers laughed and proceeded to insult Australian women, the Australian government and the nation's soccer team.

"(A guard) threw her passport on the ground and he stepped on it and he goes, `Who's going to help you now? The emu or the kangaroo?'" she said.

Ms Alshamery said the family was taken to a nearby police station where her mother and two brothers were jailed.

The rest of the family were forced to wait in a holding room for days without food or water before being allowed to leave the country.

Nasrah Alshamery was denied bail and will reapply on January 21.

Her sons, Abdulaziz, 22, and Abdulrahman, 18, have been freed on bail but cannot leave Kuwait after being charged with assaulting government officials.

Another of her adult sons, Ahmad, said his mother's condition had deteriorated since her detention.

"We heard she's not eating or drinking from the jail and she's really, really sick," he told Sky News on Tuesday.

"She needs a lot of help."

Mr Smith said consular officials were doing all they could to help the family.

"We have been providing consular assistance to those Australians including visits to the places where they were detained," he told reporters.

"We have also ensured, in accordance with our usual processes, they have access to legal advice, we've also be giving and rendering consular assistance to the family members in Australia."

He dismissed a report the family had complained to the Department of Foreign Affairs, saying they had been given no assistance.

"When Australians travel overseas and are in different countries, there's always a limit to the assistance that we can provide," Mr Smith said.

"The difficulty here is that three Australians are under investigation by Kuwait authorities for a possible breach of Kuwaiti law.

"They may well put defences under Kuwaiti law. What we're doing is ensuring they have available to them legal advice and also ensuring that they are visited."

Sydney woman arrested in Kuwait after arguing with immigration officials says security guards bashed her father and brothers.

Behind bars ... Nasrah Alshamery, second left, is pictured, top, on holiday with her family. Left to right, Ahmed, Soliman, Abdulrahman, Wafa, and twins Mohamed and Adel.

Bottom left, Abdulaziz Alshamery, 22, and Abdulrahman, 18, in police custody. Bottom right, Abdulrahman, foreground, and Abdulaziz, standing in background, in their prison cell in Kuwait.

Their mother is being held in a cell with other women opposite them, accused of insulting Sheikh Sabah IV Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, centre
Kuwait lawyer of Australian: she might go to trial
The Associated Press - Published: January 13, 2009

KUWAIT CITY: The lawyer of an Australian women held in Kuwait for insulting the emir of this oil-rich Gulf state says his client was only defending her family in a melee at the airport that led to her detention.

He says he is confident the 43-year-old Nasrah Alshamery will be acquitted if her case goes to trial.

No charges have been raised yet.

Attorney Salah al-Hajraf also told The Associated Press on Tuesday that he convinced Alshamery to end a hunger strike she recently started.

He says the December 23 incident at the Kuwait City airport which led to the arrest was a "misunderstanding" between Alshamery's husband and children, and the security officials she reportedly shouted obscenities at.

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