International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) today called for the immediate
release of leading Kuwaiti journalist and lawyer, Mohamed Abdel Qader
Al-Jassem, who is detained in Kuwait
City prison since 16 May
on subversion charges following his arrest by the country's security agents
five days earlier. He is the first journalist to be jailed for exercising his
right to press freedom.
"The case of
Al-Jassem is a chilling threat to press freedom in a country which is
considered as progressive," said Aidan White, IFJ General Secretary. "The use
of the courts to resolve media disputes opens the door to censorship and political
meddling in journalists' affairs."
Al-Hashem was arrested and detained on 11 May by officials from Kuwaiti
national security services. He was interrogated about articles published
earlier on his website. The journalist was said to have gone on hunger strike in
protest. He was taken to hospital and reportedly subjected to forced feeding.
On 16 May,
he was put on a 21 days detention order for subversion by the country's general
prosecutor and transferred to the main prison in Kuwait City.
He is due to appear in court on 5 June.
Journalists Association (KJA), an IFJ affiliate, has also rejected the
detention and called for his immediate release on health grounds.
which is backing the KJA, says Kuwaiti authorities must pull back from
confrontation with media and journalists who are critical of the leadership in
the oil rich kingdom.
authorities face a test of their commitment to press freedom and their
tolerance of independent journalism," added White. "Nothing short of the
immediate release of Al-Jassem will demonstrate their ability to pass that
For more information
contact the IFJ at +32 2 235 22 07
The IFJ represents over 600,000 journalists
in 125 countries worldwide