PEN International is deeply concerned about the one-year prison sentence handed down to Kuwaiti writer, journalist, and blogger Mohammed Abdulqader al-Jassem on November 22, 2010, for an article he wrote on his blog, Al-Mizan, criticizing the country’s prime minister. PEN considers him to be targeted solely for the peaceful exercise of his right to freedom of expression as guaranteed by Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which Kuwait is a party, and calls for his immediate and unconditional release. It also calls upon the authorities to take all necessary steps to guarantee his safety and protection from rearrest as a matter of urgency.

Background Information

According to PEN’s information, a criminal court in the capital, Kuwait City, sentenced journalist Mohammed Abdulqader al-Jassem on November 22, 2010, after he was convicted of criminal defamation in a case filed against him by the Prime Minister, Shaikh Nasser al-Mohammad al-Sabah, for an article published in 2009. The sentence began immediately and Muhammad 'Abd al-Qader al-Jasem is currently being held in Kuwait Central Prison.

The case is among 18 that the government has reportedly filed against the journalist for his writings, four of which were brought by the Prime Minister in the last year. Al-Jassem was acquitted in two out of the four cases.  He was arrested most recently before the current case in May 2010 and was held for several weeks for "attacking national unity" and defaming the prime minister in his blog. He was freed on bail on June 28, 2010. According to al-Jassem’s lawyer, he faces charges varying from defamation to "instigating to overthrow the regime." A special section has been set up within the Ministry of Justice to look exclusively into the cases against al-Jassem.

Write A Letter

  • Expressing grave concern for the safety of journalist and blogger Mohammed Abdulqader al-Jassem following the receipt of his one-year prison sentence;
  • Seeking guarantees that he will be protected from further arrest as a matter of urgency, in accordance with Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which Kuwait is a signatory.k

Send Your Letter To

His Highness Sheikh Jaber al-Ahmed al-Sabah
Emir of the State of Kuwait
Al-Diwan al-Amiri
Kuwait City
Fax: +965 539 3069

His Excellency Ahmed al-Baqir
Minister of Jusice
P.O.Box 6
Safat 13001
Fax: +965 243 3750

His Excellency Sheikh Jaber al-Khalid Al Sabah
Minister of Interior
Ministry of Interior
P.O. Box 12500
Shamiya 71655
Fax: +965 243 6570

Please copy appeals to the diplomatic representative for Kuwait in your country if possible.