Here There and Everywhere

Expat wanderer

Taking Issues to the Paper

Here is where this story started: Corruption at the Morgue.

You have to wonder what is going on here? Both parties are now taking their cases to the press. It’s interesting. It should be easy enough to determine whether the morgue conditions are modern or not, whether the morgue has the equipment it needs to determine blood alcohol content, drug levels, blood infections (you would want your medics and coronors to know if they are exposed to TB, HIV, Hepatitus, etc.) but all this is aside from the accusation that autopsy results and cause of death are being manipulated to prevent successful prosecution of some who commit crimes, and to implicate some who do not.

The female coroner’s accusation of sexual harassment may not even be an issue – does Kuwait have a law against sexual harassment? I would think the courts would be overwhelmed if there were such laws in place! If there is no law against sexual harassment, can you call it assault, and prosecute?

Morgue chief hits back
Published Date: March 17, 2008
By Ahmad Al-Khaled, Staff Writer

KUWAIT: The director of Kuwait’s morgue refuted accusations by a female coroner of departmental wrongdoing and false reports during a press conference yesterday. Department director Eid Bousalib labeled the female coroner Dr Nawal Bousheri a “problem employee.” The director argued that his department is transparent, noting “We have a department of quality control which monitors all our procedures.

He, instead concentrated his statements on attacking Bousheri. Reciting a litany of offenses including failing to show up for work and complaining about the lack of promotion, Bousalib painted Bousheri as a disgruntled employee simply lashing out via the media.

She stopped signing in and out of her log book and declined overtime hours and with that we sent a memo to the administrative department regarding those issues. At that time she was not assigned any cases. On two occasions, one for 46 days and another for 21 days where she never signed-in.” Bousalib pointed out, “This happened in 2007, long before she complained in the media.

He also noted that she applied for a promotion and was rejected and in response, “She placed another complaint with the Civil Service Commission that was investigated and declined…She was still unsatisfied and complained in the administrative courts in 2007 on the same issue (her promotion) and it was rejected,” he said.

Addressing Bousheri’s accusations, Bousalib said that male doctors examined male corpses and that women examined female corpses. “That is totally wrong, women examine women and men examine men – even the doctors have separate offices (male and female sections)-If you examine our overnight shift lists, we always have a male and female doctor on shift.” Bousheri alleged that male doctors would be present in the same examining rooms where female coroners examined female corpses. She said the result was in app
ropriate behavior regarding the corpses.

Bousheri also claimed that coroners falsified reports at the request of police. Bousalib rejected the claim. “It is impossible to doctor the records. An administrative person, no matter his rank, has no authority over technicians and what the technicians write on their reports is what they are responsible for in the courts,” he said.

Regarding accusations of poor sanitation, sterilization of equipment, and bad smells in the state morgue, Criminal Investigation Deputy Director Brigadier Dr. Fahad Al-Dousari said, “The ventilation system is modern. The morgue was authorized and approved by the British Royal College and Kuwait University and is up to international standards.” Notably the facility was denied the approval of the British Royal College prior to 2001 but after upgrades, subsequently received the approval.

The department, which includes a wide variety of sections such as a criminal laboratory, forensic medicine section, and a crime scene officers section, has been in operation for 50 years. In 2001 Kuwait launched the identification DNA laboratory which was the first such lab in the Middle East and Arabian Gulf region.

Earlier slanderous rumors regarding Bousheri’s mental state had been leaked to the press. Bousalib declined to comment on the rumors, noting “She is still an employee and a colleague and we do not interfere in her personal life.” Kuwait Times could not confirm the rumors. Dr. Bousheri is still employed at the department, but Bousalib would not confirm if she was still receiving cases.

Female coroner retaliates…
Published Date: March 18, 2008

KUWAIT: Female coroner Dr Nawal Boushiri has retaliated against accusations hurled at her by morgue director Brig Eid Bousalib in Sunday’s press conference. She pointed out that she was waiting for the minister of interior’s nod, especially since he was aware of all the misdeeds that took place at the criminal administration. She met him twice and he has given the director the go- ahead to defend himself, thus making him both the opponent and the judge. She asserted that she has documents to prove the viol
ations that took place in the autopsy room and other departments at the administration.

However, she said that she has reservations about making them public now, since the case is sub judice. She expressed astonishment at the fact that the director avoided the sexual harassment topic, emphasizing that the issue has deeply troubled her and undermined her position at the administration
She said that the head of the department is a dentist; universally, the post is reserved to a doctor specialized in general medicine and surgery. A dentist’s knowledge is limited to the teeth.

My complaint is still being considered by the court and I have a letter authorized by the Civil Service Commission stating that the minute the post becomes vacant, I have the right to take charge.

The director said that the autopsy room is a modern one and meets international standards. I want to say that the room is a hall, that has two tables for inspecting bodies, without any kind of partition. The ventilation system is poor. The equipments used are substandard. This administration department smells foul whenever a body is present in the autopsy room. Authorities should verify this matter.

She said that there have been cases where lab reports indicate that the blood and urine samples taken by the administration were not that at all. Further some reports state that the urine sample was substituted with some ‘liquid.’
Boushiri went on to say, “The director feels that it is not important to decide the dose of drug in the bloodstream. I say it is of extreme importance especially in cases decisions have to be made whether the dosage was part of treatment or not. It is usually the drug overdose that causes death.

Whatever has been said about my commitment to work is baseless. For all the years that I worked at the administration, I stopped signing the attendance register only after the director started sexually harassing me. I did not sign the register for several months before he ordered that my salary be stopped on 16th September 2007. I don’t know why he chose this date in particular.

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March 19, 2008 - Posted by | Bureaucracy, Community, Crime, Cultural, Detective/Mystery, ExPat Life, Humor, Kuwait, Living Conditions, Social Issues, Technical Issue, Tools

7 Comments »

  1. I say bravo that this woman is speaking out.

    Where there is smoke, there is fire.

    If the morgue authorities have nothing to hide, then they should not be defensive and be fully open about the facilities and be subject to unannounced inspection by unaffiliated parties.

    Why would anyone speak about these kinds of violations if they did not exist?

    These are the kinds of issues that need to be attended to right away

    Comment by jewaira | March 19, 2008 | Reply

  2. Note that they tried to assassinate bousheri’s character…suggesting that she had spent time in the mental hospital, implying she’s insane. this is a common tactic here, especially against whistleblowers and women.

    Comment by Q8gypsy | March 19, 2008 | Reply

  3. Lady J – I also commend the Kuwait Times for keeping up with this story, even printing that rumors were being spread about Bousheri’s mental condition – that ought to raise a red flag or two. I am very proud of the Kuwait Times for keeping this in the public view. If there are wrongful acts being committed at the morgue, they need to be spotlighted, and stopped, or law enforcement and prosecution will have no documentation or credibility.

    Q8Gypsy – no kidding? They do that in Kuwait? I’ve seen it in the US, too. What makes my blood boil is when they imply it’s hormonal – like they’ve never heard of testosterone, and it’s brain deadening effects? Oops, pardon me, ranting again.

    Comment by intlxpatr | March 19, 2008 | Reply

  4. they do it also whenever a kuwaiti commits a heinous act like a dad killing his entire family. if an expat does this, he hangs…but a kuwaiti is insane and therefore not responsible. i’m not saying some aren’t but there’s a huge bias.
    as for the female coroner…if more kuwaitis spoke out about bad conditions, wasta and abuse and tried to right the wrongs, maybe this country wouldn’t have so many problems. i feel bad that kuwait has so much potential and wastes it all while uae/qatar/saudi rise to become serious economic powers…

    Comment by Q8gypsy | March 19, 2008 | Reply

  5. Q8gypsy, in another Gulf country, a friend of mine had a child in her classroom whose Dad got out of jail after only 6 months for killing the child’s mother, who was his wife. The child told the teacher her Dad had to do it, he found a strange man’s phone number on his wife’s phone. 6 months. I guess it’s a crime of passion, which is another word for a temporary instability. It isn’t only happening in q8, but things ARE changing. At least he went to jail for 6 months.

    Comment by intlxpatr | March 19, 2008 | Reply

  6. Oh, yes, the sexual harassment thing. Which is not really addressed in Kuwait’s Labor Laws. I’ve been a victim of (verbal harassment, my sister got fired from a job for complaining about). It’s out there. Great coverage, Intlxpatr. Thx.

    Comment by harmonie22 | March 21, 2008 | Reply

  7. It happens world-over, Harmonie22. We have some important issues to address. Change is coming, it comes slowly, and we all have to be paying attention. Thanks for your good words.

    Comment by intlxpatr | March 21, 2008 | Reply


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