Kuwaiti court to look into politician’s appeal next week

July 5, 2010
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A Kuwaiti court said that it would on Monday look into the appeal of Khalid Al Fadhala, the Secretary General of the National Democratic Alliance, against a prison sentence announced last week.

Husain Al Gahreeb, his lawyer, lodged the appeal on Monday morning, saying that that his client should not be made to spend three months in prison and to pay a KD150 fine. The lawyer also contested transferring the case filed by the prime minister for alleged slander to the civil court.

Al Fadhala who allegedly accused the prime minister of money-laundering gave himself up to the police on Friday to start the prison term.

“Khalid should be freed and allowed to go home because he made no mistake,” Al Ghareeb said. “He simply expressed his views about acts of mismanagement that were included in a public report. The Kuwaiti law allows everyone to express their views and people with good intentions should be allowed to pinpoint deficiencies,” he said, quoted by Al Aan news portal.

Kuwait’s prime minister had sued Al Fadhala for slandering him at a public rally in Kuwait City last November. Emad Al Seefi, the lawyer for the prime minister, told the court that political activism should not be used to launch accusations and slander people.

“Such an attitude reflects a misinterpretation of the freedom of political activism and the right to criticise other people,” he said. “The dignity of national icons should not be undermined by slandering them or intruding on their private lives. Everybody has the right to go to court to preserve their freedom, private lives and dignity, and this applies to all common people and politicians,” he said.

Last week’s verdict against Al Fadhala was expectedly supported and criticised by bloggers who were divided on its merit. Several people welcomed it as “a means to ensure that freedom of expression is not turned into abuse of people’s names and dignity”, but others said that it was “a move against people’s rights to express their views and opinions.”

A group of 56 activists, lawyers and writers issued a petition prior to the ruling to express solidarity with Al Fadhala and to urge Kuwaiti officials to deepen democratic practices by not taking political statements out of their contexts.

         

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About the author

Born August 3, 1960 in Monastir, Tunisia
Career
Media career:
  • ABC News (Tunisia)
  • Bahrain Tribune
  • Gulf News
  • Bahrain Television News
Teaching career:
  • Monastir (Tunisia)
  • University of Bahrain
Education
  • MA  Mass Communications, University of Leicester
  • BA  in English & US literature and studies, University of Tunis

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