June 18, 2010
Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmed al-Jaber al-Sabah
The Emir of Kuwait
P.O. Box 1
Via e-mail: amirs[email protected]
Your Royal Highness,
The Committee to Protect Journalists, a New York-based nonprofit, nonpartisan organization dedicated to defending press freedom worldwide, is concerned about the ongoing extrajudicial detention of Mohammed Abdulqader al-Jassem, a prominent journalist and founding editor of the Arabic editions of Foreign Policy and Newsweek. We call on you to ensure that this egregious violation of press freedom is rectified in al-Jassem’s June 21 court hearing and that he is released immediately.
We have observed with alarm the politicized nature of al-Jassem’s treatment. Al-Jassem, in custody since May 11, was charged with "instigating to overthrow the regime," "slight to the personage of the emir," and "instigating to dismantle the foundations of Kuwaiti society" based on articles he published on his Web site. On May 12, al-Jassem went on a hunger strike to protest his detention. His condition deteriorated, and he was transferred to a hospital, where he ended his strike.
For the first five days of his interrogation, al-Jassem did
not have access to his attorney and was not allowed to see his family, which
are both illegal under Kuwaiti law. He is currently being held in
Al-Jassem's detention and trial are in violation of several legal
provisions. Article 37 of
You have, in several
speeches, highlighted the importance of a free press and of
"constructive criticism." On
January 30, 2006, a day after your ascension to power, you felt compelled “to
point to the constructive and special role of our local journalists in covering
and talking about the precise experience that the country went through."
You praised Kuwaiti journalists for their "balance, responsibility, and wisdom."
Those words risk being rendered meaningless if they are not reflective of the
conditions under which
Thank you for your attention to these urgent matters. We await your reply.