Washington, DC (DailyHaze) – Monique Coverson and her girlfriend Larissa are facing the very real possibility that they will spend the next 25-years of their life in a Kuwaiti prison.
After serving in the United States Army for seven years, Monique and Larissa returned to Kuwait as military contractors. Last May, police kicked in their door and found an ounce of a suspicious tobacco-like substance. After sending the substance to Germany for testing, it was discovered the substance was K2. Which is legal in Kuwait.
But Monique’s family claim that something changed after receiving the initial results. The girl’s lawyer claimed that the two would be fine due to the legal standings of K2, yet both girls remained in prison for months as they waited to go to court. When it came time for their trial, they were no longer looking at an ounce of K2. Now it was claimed the two had one pound of hash.
Kuwait is one of the worst places to receive any kind of drug charge. You can expect large fines, lengthy jail sentences and even the possibility of death. For being caught with alcohol you can face large fines, lengthy jail sentences and even deportation.
On January 16 of this year, the two women were sentenced to 25-years in prison for possessing one pound of hash. A possession charge they claim to be false. But why would these charges be falsely used against the two women? Monique’s family believes it could be in relation to their openly homosexual lifestyle.
Kuwait holds a semi-complicated view towards homosexuality. While being gay is not flat out outlawed, homosexuals are still prosecuted under the “debauchery” law. The Kuwaiti penal code contains provisions that can easily be used to target those in the LGBT community.
In Kuwait, two men being caught in sexual activity could result in up to 6 years in jail, but it is technically legal for women to participate in same sex activity. Gays and lesbians are not allowed to serve in the military. Joint adoption, or step child adoption is not allowed for same-sex relationships. There is no recognition for same-sex couples. There is also no protection from discrimination in employment, purchasing goods or services and the use of hate speech.
Monique’s mother has started a petition on Change.org asking for the US government to look into the possibility of the wrongful imprisonment of her daughter and her girlfriend. As of now the petition has received 17,220 signatures out of a goal of 25,000. The petition reads as follows.
“My daughter Monique earned a stellar record for her seven years as a soldier in the United States Army, stationed in Kuwait. Now, she and her partner wallow in a Kuwaiti prison, facing 25 years on baseless charges.
After active duty, Monique and her partner Larissa later returned to Kuwait to work as military contractors. On the the morning of May 8, 2015, their house was raided and police confiscated one ounce of a “tobacco-like” substance. It was sent to a lab in Germany for analysis, and it was determined to be a substance that is completely legal in Kuwait. Yet, Kuwaiti officials held them in prison anyway. After 8 months of uncharged incarceration, the one ounce of legal substance magically turned into one pound of marijuana, and on January 12, 2016, Monique and Larissa were sentenced to 20-25 years in prison.
I am begging the US Government to do what it can to get my daughter and her partner out of jail and back to the States. They have clearly been targeted by the Kuwaiti government for their lifestyle, and could spend half their lives in prison for it.
This whole ordeal is a nightmare. One minute, I was expecting her for Mother’s Day, and the next, I was told she was in prison. Everything I have learned has been through her friends and her lawyer, who has only called to demand more money — money for services he hasn’t rendered. Right now, I would do anything just to hear her voice.
To this day, I cannot understand how the US government has allowed them to remain in prison. They were not in possession of an illegal substance, yet their freedom and belongings have been taken away from them. They are being held captive in a foreign land for a crime they did not commit, with no help in sight.
I need all of you who read this to help me send a message to the US Government, and ask them to do what is right and get Monique and Larissa out of jail and bring them home. This injustice cannot stand. Please sign my petition.”