A picture dated June 28, 2010 shows prominent Kuwaiti writer and lawyer Mohammad Abdul Qadir Al Jasem speaking to reporters Image Credit: AFP

Manama: Kuwait's criminal court on Monday sentenced writer and lawyer Mohammad Abdul Qadir Al Jasem to one year in prison in the case filed against him by Shaikh Nasser Al Mohammad Al Subah, the prime minister, for writing an article deemed highly critical of him. The article, Nasser XVII, was posted on Mohammad's website.

According to Abdullah Al Ahmad, the writer's lawyer, the court sentence was announced by Emad Al Saif, the prime minister's legal representative to the media ahead of the court, Kuwaiti news portal Al Aan reported.

However, Al Saif rejected the charge and said that he did not make any statement on the sentencing.

Al Jasem's lawyer said that he would appeal the verdict.

In his article, Al Jasem charged that Iranian intelligence was able to interfere in Kuwait's domestic affairs through a businessman, identified as M and described as a Kuwaiti citizen with great influence among Kuwait's Shiites and with close ties to Shaikh Nasser Al Mohammad.

Al Jasem wrote that he was well aware of the dangerous character of his article and that he anticipated a strong reaction from M and Iranians, but he insisted that he was keen on his country's interests and dignity.

In May, Al Jasem was detained for six weeks on charges of undermining the status of the emir and harming Kuwait's national interests.

His detention spared massive rallies in his support and international calls to free him.

The writer and lawyer is facing several court cases for his articles and public comments.

Initial comments by Kuwaitis on the court verdict expectedly varied between support for Al Jasem for what was perceived as freedom of speech to outright approval of the court's decision and condemnation of the writer for claiming that the prime minister had indirect links with Iran's intelligence services.