Kuwait City: Kuwait has defended its handover of eight Egyptians wanted in the homeland where they were convicted in terrorism cases.

Earlier this week, Kuwaiti authorities said they had arrested the eight , who are members of a cell linked to the Muslim Brotherhood, and later handed them to Egypt under extradition pacts between the two countries. Human Rights Watch criticised the handover, claiming that the eight are dissidents and face torture and persecution in Egypt, allegations that Kuwait has denied.

“The deportation of the eight came after an investigation, and was based on court rulings issued against them in their home country and according to agreements between Egypt and Kuwait, and not because they are opponents,” a Kuwaiti diplomatic source told Al Rai newspaper.

Kuwait has deported only the eight convicts, according to the unnamed source.

“There is in the country [Kuwait] hundreds of thousands of Egyptian residents. It is natural they include opponents, but they have not been subjected to any measures due to their political stances,” the source added.

Kuwaiti Minister of Interior Khalid Al Jarrah told a cabinet meeting this week that the eight had admitted in investigations to have been involved in attacks in Egypt.

Egypt has seen a spate of militant attacks since the army’s mid-2013 overthrow of president Mohammad Mursi, a senior Brotherhood official, following enormous street protests against his rule.

Later that year, Egyptian authorities designated the Brotherhood as a terrorist organisation over involvement in violence.