by Audrey Chang ’23
Published May 9th, 2021
On April 20, 2021, Farah Hamza Akbar, aged 32, was abducted in front of her daughter and niece. She was then taken to an unknown location and stabbed to death.
The abductor, Fahad Subhi Mohammed, had deliberately crashed into Akbar’s car so that she had no escape. He then dumped her body in front of the Adan Hospital in Mubarak Al Kabeer, which pronounced her dead.
Mohammed later came forward, admitting to stabbing Akbar in the chest. Details were released giving evidence that Mohammed had been stalking and threatening Akbar for some time after she refused his marriage proposal.
Akbar and her sister, lawyer Dana Akbar, had previously filed several reports to the police which were not taken seriously. After threatening to kidnap and kill Akbar, Mohammed was detained twice on harassment charges but was released on bail both times.
After Akbar’s death, Dana Akbar could be heard in a video complaining about the government and law enforcements’ inactions, wailing, “That is what we got, exactly what we said, that he is going to kill her, and he killed my sister. Where is the government? We told the judge. I told you many times he would kill her, and now she’s dead.” This video went viral, sparking public outrage about Kuwait’s system of patriarchism and female underrepresentation.
Later that week, feminist activist groups gathered outside the National Assembly in Irada Square, demanding female protection reform. Activists have also criticized Kuwaiti legal codes, including one that states a man who kills his spouse or sister upon catching them committing adultery will only be charged with a misdemeanor, facing a maximum jail sentence of three years. These murders are classified as honor killings.
Akbar’s murder also drew attention to the honor killing of Fatima al-Ajami, who in 2020 had been murdered by her brother after ongoing disputes over her marriage two years prior.
Though Kuwaiti lawmakers passed the nation’s first female protection law in August of 2020, effective action has not yet taken place. Activists argue that legal codes still offer men much higher protection than women.