Dubai: Kuwait`s criminal court has
rejected demands by defence lawyers to release a prominent
writer, who has been behind bars for more than 40 days, for writing against the country`s ruler.
"The court rejected our demands and set the next
hearing for June 28," Mohammad Abdulqader Al Jassem`s lawyer
Abdullah Al Ahmad told a local newspaper
Jassem, 54, had been charged with undermining the
Emir`s status, attacking the regime and spreading false
information damaging to Kuwait`s national interests.
The charges carry a penalty of several years in jail.
In the first hearing on May 24, Jassem categorically
denied the charges saying they are politically-motivated.
The lawyer said he and the rest of the defence team
are refusing to begin their arguments until the court allows
them to read a medical report by a court-appointed commission
on the health of the ailing writer.
"We have received confirmed information that the
medical report contained a recommendation that Jassem should
spend his detention in hospital," Ahmad said.
"This is clearly a politically-motivated move to alleviate international and local pressure for the release of
Jassem," Ahmad was quoted by The Peninsula daily as saying.
Human rights organisations have sent letters to Emir
Sheikh Sabah Al Ahmad Al Sabah urging the immediate release of
Jassem, who is also a well-known journalist and lawyer.
The lawsuit against Jassem was filed by the minister
of the royal court, Sheikh Nasser Sabah Al Ahmad, the elder
son of Kuwait`s ruler.
Jassem was detained for 12 days in November over a
lawsuit filed by the Kuwaiti prime minister alleging slander.
On April 1, the lower court sentenced him to six
months in jail and a fine of USD 17,500 but suspended the jail
term until the ruling of the appeals court.