Kuwait City: On Tuesday, Kuwait’s Public Prosecutor charged renowned Kuwaiti poet, Jamal Al Sayer, for allegedly “broadcasting fake news” and “insulting the Emir”, MP Muhannad Al Sayer said in a Tweet after attending the investigation.
Despite pleading not guilty, Al Sayer was ordered to be held in detention until Wednesday, when he will be interrogated.
According to reports, Al Sayer was arrested in his home by state security late Monday night. Many criticised the way he was arrested, with MP AbdulKarim Al Kandari pointing out that, “the ‘night visits’ method does not align with the state’s constitution and laws”.
MP Abdulaziz Al Saqoubi also tweeted against the manner of the arrest stating that, “The behaviour of the ‘mafia’ and gangs and the kidnapping of freedom is a crime against democracy and the rule of law.”
Following the news of Al Sayer’s arrest, the hashtag ‘Freedom for Jamal Al Sayer’ was trending on Twitter as many expressed their sympathy with the poet and described him as a patriot.
Several opposition MPs spoke out against the arrest and criticised the government, calling the move “an attack on freedoms”.
Former MP Abdulwahab Al Babtain said that since the press and publications law was amended in March 30, 2021 all those charged in cases of expressing opinions cannot be detained. The amended law went into effect on April 12 as it was published in the state’s official gazette.
Speaking against corruption
Abdulhamid Dashti, a lawyer, said that Al Sayer was likely arrested over a tweet on July 3 that urged citizens to look into the Panama papers and the Bahamas leaks so that they know what is going on in the country despite the “blackout on the subject”.
Al Sayer regularly tweets out on issues related to corruption and state affairs and is regarded as a literary figure in Kuwait.