Last Updated: Friday, 24 October 2014, 15:39 GMT

Kuwaiti court hands journalist jail term, suspends daily

Publisher Committee to Protect Journalists
Publication Date 20 March 2012
Cite as Committee to Protect Journalists, Kuwaiti court hands journalist jail term, suspends daily, 20 March 2012, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/4f702507c.html [accessed 25 October 2014]
DisclaimerThis is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.

New York, March 20, 2012 – A Kuwait appellate court should overturn a March 12 ruling that suspended a private newspaper for three months and sentenced its editor to a six-month prison term for articles defending the country's Shiite minority, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today.

On March 12, Kuwait's third circuit criminal court charged Al-Dar with violating the Press and Publications Law by "undermining national unity" and "creating sectarian strife," its editor-in-chief, Abdul Hussein al-Sultan, told CPJ. The newspaper appealed the ruling on Thursday, but has not received an appeals court date yet, al-Sultan said. The editor, convicted of alleged incitement, was free after posting bail of 1,000 Kuwaiti dinars (US$3,600), he told CPJ.

The charges stemmed from three articles Al-Dar published in January that responded to local newspaper articles calling Kuwaiti Shiites "Iranian spies" and "disbelievers," al-Sultan said. The editor told CPJ that the Al-Dar articles said the anti-Shiite comments threatened national unity and encouraged sectarianism.

The March 12 ruling also ordered all issues of the newspaper articles to be confiscated, CPJ's review of the court documents found.

"It's an egregious miscarriage of justice to find an editor and newspaper guilty of undermining national unity for articles defending a minority group that was under attack," said Mohamed Abdel Dayem, CPJ's Middle East and North Africa program coordinator. "We call on the judicial system to reverse this unjust ruling on appeal, and authorities to halt their harassment of Al-Dar immediately."

Kuwait's Press Court suspended the newspaper on February 2 and again on March 5, CPJ research shows. The daily has repeatedly been targeted in the past three years with 133 cases brought against it by the Ministry of Information, al-Sultan told CPJ.

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