The U.S. Must Act to Stop a Human Rights Abuse in Kuwait
By Louis Freeh
May 30, 2019
The single mother of a four-year-old U.S. citizen has been imprisoned in Kuwait for over one year on baseless criminal charges. For the past six months I’ve been working with a team of lawyers and human rights advocates for the release of Marsha Lazareva, so that she and her family can return home to Pennsylvania. If Kuwait is unable or unwilling to correct this injustice, the U.S. government may be forced to impose sanctions on those responsible.
Marsha is one of the most prominent business executives in the Middle East. She and her co-defendant, Saeed Dhasti, were arrested and convicted without the opportunity to present a defense, in a trial that depended on falsified documents and two key witnesses who have since recanted their testimony.
Based on my experience as a U.S. federal judge, prosecutor and as director of the FBI, this is a clear violation of the fundamental due process rights which both Kuwaiti law and international standards of justice require for a fair trial. I have also conducted an independent investigation of the charges and found them to be without any factual or legal basis.