By Staff writer
Writer sentenced to one year in prison for writing an article held to be highly critical of the prime minister.
Kuwait's lower court on Monday sentenced one of the country’s
leading journalists to one year in prison for writing an article held to be
highly critical of the prime minister.
According to newswire AFP, the article was posted a year ago
on writer Mohammad Abdulqader Al Jassem's website.
It charges that the Iranian intelligence was interfering in
Kuwait's affairs through a leading businessman close to the prime minister, Sheikh
Nasser Mohammad Al Ahmad Al Sabah.
The writer told AFP he believed the case, lodged by the
prime minister, to be politically-motivated and said he would take it to the
"This is a political case. The prime minister has been
trying for some time to suppress freedom of speech," Jassem told the newswire.
According to AFP, in its ruling, the misdemeanours court
said the jail sentence is effective immediately. This means that Jassem will be
imprisoned until the decision of the appeals court.
"I am ready to go to jail whenever they call me,"
Jassem told AFP.
He denied that he had accused the prime minister of collaborating
with Iranian intelligence.
The US State Department said in June that it had concerns about the case and had raised
the matter with the Kuwaiti government.
"We are concerned about this case and have raised our
concerns with the government of Kuwait," U.S. State Department spokesman PJ
Crowley had told newswire Reuters.
"The ability of citizens and journalists of any country
to freely and vigorously discuss, debate and critique the actions of
governments does not threaten national interests," he added. "It ...
makes governments better and more accountable."
It is too bad that journalist have to be imprisoned.