Kuwait’s Interior Ministry has said the arrest of journalist Bashar Al-Sayegh, over comments about the country’s Amir, was lawful and denied press claims the reporter had been kidnapped.
Al-Sayegh was arrested Saturday evening along with fellow journalist Jassem Al Qamis at the Al-Jarida newspaper offices over comments posted on a personal web site administered by Al-Sayegh. The writer of the comments, who works at the Ministry of Defence, was also arrested according to Kuwait Times.
Acting Interior Undersecretary Major General Ahmad Al-Rujaib said in a press conference that the comments were punishable by law.
“This is a national security crime” he said, referring to article article 25 of criminal law which states a prison term “not exceeding five years will be handed down to anyone who publicly challenges the rights or authorities of the Amir or insults him – whether in speech, writing, drawing, or any other means of expression.”
The arrest of Al Qamis, who was released a few hour later, was over “obstructing security personnel while carrying out their duties as stipulated by article 135 of criminal law,” Al-Rujaib said.
Al-Sayegh, who was released on bail Tuesday – two days after his arrest, told Kuwait Times he was doing well and could meet with prime minister Sheikh Nasser Al-Mohammed today (Wednesday).
Al-Rujaib said Al-Sayegh’s arrest had been undertaken according to procedure, with members of the force declaring who they were and producing a General Prosecution arrest order.
He stressed that freedom of the press had been fully observed, but said journalists could be arrested for other reasons.For all the latest business news from the UAE and Gulf countries, follow us on Twitter and Linkedin, like us on Facebook and subscribe to our YouTube page, which is updated daily.
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