Two Kuwaiti activists allowed to go home after court reverses earlier sentences

July 13, 2010
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Al Fadhala carrying his son - Al Qabas

Two leading Kuwaiti activists were allowed to go home after an appeals court overturned a six-month jail term on one and ordered the release of the second.

The court reversed an earlier decision by the lower court to sentence Khalid Al Fadhala, the secretary general of the liberal National Democratic Alliance, to three months in prison for allegedly using a public rally to accuse the prime minister of collaborating with others in money laundering. Under the new verdict, Al Fadhala was sentenced to ten days in prison, a sentence that allowed him to go home amid a thunder of applause and euphoric scenes of jubilation by his relatives and supporters.

“I am too tired to make a statement. Please excuse me,” Al Fadhala told the people cheering him as he left the court at around 9 pm on Monday wearing a Kuwaiti thobe and a headdress. Earlier, as he was brought to the court, he was wearing the prison thobe and his head was not covered.

In the second case, liberal lawyer and columnist Mohammad Al Jassem, who had been detained on charges of slandering the prime minister Shaikh Nasser Mohammed Al Ahmad Al Sabah, was acquitted.

On April 1, a lower court sentenced Al Jassem to six months in jail and ordered him to pay a $17,500 fine for allegedly making offensive remarks against Shaikh Nasser at a public lecture on “Where’s Kuwait heading?” on October 18. Al Jassem reportedly attacked the prime minister’s management of some state affairs. His case drew regional and international attention with several organizations urging the Kuwaiti authorities to release him. His daughter launched a passionate appeal to the country’s ruler on a private television station, the first time that a Kuwaiti citizen addresses the Emir openly on television.

However, Al Jassem will have to put up with five more lawsuits for criticising the prime minister. Three were filed by the premier and the two others by the minister of information.

 

         

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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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