Free Bashar!

20 Aug, '07

Some very sad news from Kuwait, a neighbouring country which we in Bahrain – and I suspect the whole Gulf – regarded until now as the beacon of democracy with the longest serving parliament in the region. A country where we celebrated their new Press and Publications Law which we again held in high regard and wished that we in Bahrain could just approach the freedoms it contains, a country who we fought for each in his and her own capacity when it was overrun by that criminal Saddam and opened our houses and hearts to our Kuwaiti brothers and sisters, a country which we deeply share our destiny and culture with much more than any other Gulf country. It is therefore very sad to hear of the news that their security forces have not only detained online publishers, but also tortured them simply for having an online presence and are being held to account for an anonymous comment left on their publication they had nothing to do with, and for daring to take pictures of the apprehension.

This is much more than a black day for the freedom of speech in the Gulf as that restriction has come from the doyen of free speech in this area, one that we have held in very high regard, until now.

I ask the Kuwaiti security forces to immediately and unconditionally release our friend Bashar Al-Sayegh and offer reparations to our friend Jassim Al-Qamis.

Shame on you Kuwait.

Free Bashar Al-Sayegh - Kuwait blogger abducted by the secret police in Kuwait

Bashar and Jassim, you have my full support and I know that this incident will never diminish your patriotism and love for your country.

إنشاءالله تعدي بخير

references English: SBGSavior MachineThe KuwaitiQ8 SWSShurooqForzaQ8 • The Stallion
Arabic: Al-AanAl-JareedaAl-OmmahSahat Al-SafatMa6googelkootKuwait Unpluggedbel Kuwaiti Alfasih

Bashar Al-Sayegh released by the State Security police in Kuwait

update 070821@1755: Bashar has been released on his own recognizance by the State Security police. Welcome back Bashar! More on Al-Aan (arabic) and the various websites above.

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Comments (11)

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  1. Esra'a says:

    We must stand with our Kuwaiti friends in this struggle, and support their constitutional rights to free speech!

  2. Esra'a says:

    By the way, if we let Egypt and Kuwait get away with it, we can bet our asses that we’re next.

  3. Rancher says:

    And we in the US wont be far behind. An American was arrested for desecrating a Koran, a hate crime. While I find that act offensive I also find a lot of what our culture produces offensive, but we had First Amendments rights so I chose not to watch or listen to such garbage. You can still burn an American flag but offend Muslims? Go directly to jail and do not pass go. If our Constitutional rights can be curtailed because we might offend a certain segment what chance do you who have no such guarantees have?

  4. Capt. Arab says:

    خالي يامعود
    Half of my family are actually from kuwait, and I totally agree that we share great similarities in our culture more than any GCC country.
    For a country such as Kuwait that always proclaims to be the protector of their people with their repetitive slogans “الكويتي قبل الخليجي” translated: Kuwaiti’s come first, and for a country that adopted our parliament model after the ’73 experience in Bahrain… Shame on you. Time we started a bloggers petition to put pressure on those fools who sit comfortably on their asses proclaiming to the champion of the people.

  5. says:

    The problem is, the situation will escalate, cause shockwaves around the world, and then Bashar will get released, and everyone will forget the situation like nothing ever happened!

  6. mahmood says:

    No they won’t. I know that RSF and other international organisations will watch this case very closely and I can guarantee that Kuwait’s press and freedoms ranking will suffer due to this incident.

    What that translates to ultimately is that it will affect FDI for that country and even maybe the region with the repeat of these oppressions.

  7. Redbelt says:

    please diffrentiate freedom of speach from freedom to insult.
    You can say you do not agree with it or you do not think it is legit. That is your speech and your free to do that.
    Desecration is an insult and meant to offend rather than make a point. A point can be made with the above.
    Let me see you walk in the street, giving the finger to everyone you meet that you don’t like. Let us see you pass that as freedom of speech.

  8. Esra'a says:

    I’m wondering if it’s at all possible to have a thread in Mahmood’s Den that doesn’t meander in a completely different direction within its 3rd post? Can we focus on Bashar and his status, instead of Muslims abroad (and comparing it in an entirely different context)?


  9. mahmood says:

    Thanks Esra’a. That would indeed be an achievement!

  10. Murad says:

    yes I don’t quite see how this is being made about the USA, ideally we should talk about how to prevent these things from happening in the future. Good job everyone on spreading the word so fast I think it had much to do with his release. 😀

  11. Rancher says:

    Forgive me; I was not trying to draw the post away from Bashar. Its just Bashar, Kareem, and Mahmood all portend an ominous trend that scares me. It absolutely is pertinent to any blogger in any country and I was only pointing out that no one is safe, not even in the U.S. That being said I’ll answer Redbelt and then shut up. I would like an English banner I can post showing my support for Bashar if anyone knows of one..

    Redit you can’t differentiate between them. That’s the problem with hate crime legislation; you have to read the defendant’s mind to know his intent to determine if hate was a factor. You start down the slippery path of drawing a line between disagreement and insult in free speech then you wind up with despots who take any criticism of the Government and twist into an insult to Islam or a threat to the state.

    Our First Amendment right protects us from the Government making some speech illegal. That does not mean an employer has to let you insult the customer; he can fire you. It does not protect me from a person whom I walk up to and insult. It does not allow me to libel a person but that has limits if you are a politician. The bar for libel is set a little higher when it comes to elected and appointed officials so as not to stifle free speech.

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