A Gloomy Day for Freedom of Expression In Kuwait. Heavy Fines for A Journalist, An MP and Two Newspapers in One Day.
The Arabic Network for Human Rights Information said today that Sunday 7/3/2010 was a gloomy day for freedom of opinion and expression in Kuwait. Two court sentences were issued against an MP, a journalist and two newspapers fining each KD 3,000 (about $10,500) on the background of critical articles of the prime minister , which the government considered abusive as he is a member of the royal family.
The first sentence was against the writer and MP Mohamed Hayef AlMetairy due declarations published in "AlRouia" newspaper in which he criticized the Kuwaiti PM. The Kuwaiti government considered those declarations abusive of the royal family and the court fined the writer and the newspaper KD 3,000 each.
The second sentence was against the renowned opposition journalist Mohamed Abd AlKader Jasim due to an article published in "AlAlam AlYoum" newspaper which was also critical of the PM. Insisting on his position, Jasim refused to be bailed out and chose to stay in custody pending investigation for ten days. Eventually he and the newspaper were penalized KD 3,000 each.
Gamal Eid , ANHRI executive director said, "The Kuwaiti government proved to be no exception of all Arab governments hostile to freedom of press and expression. These penalties have completely ruined the good image which the Kuwaiti government worked hard to establish as a state that respects press freedom. We deeply hope that the Kuwaiti judiciary ,in appeal hearings, will affirm that government officials in any post are subject to criticism even if they were members of the royal family".