Kuwaiti court fines Al-Jazeera TV $16,400
A Kuwaiti court Saturday, April 14, convicted the leading pan-Arab Al-Jazeera TV station of "hurting the pride of the Kuwaiti people" and ordered it to pay a fine of $16,400 in "temporary" damages, a lawyer said.
The verdict was issued by the civil court in a lawsuit filed by 22 Kuwaiti citizens claiming that a political program presented by Sami Haddad last year has caused "extensive moral damage" to them, Salah Al-Hashem, who represented the group in court, told AFP.
The lawsuit claimed Haddad had accused Kuwait of "melting its Iraqi, Palestinian and even Kuwaiti opponents with acid" after the 1991 liberation from seven months of Iraqi occupation.
"We are now demanding a public apology by the stations director and the announcer to the whole Kuwaiti people, and we would drop the whole case," Hashem said.
"If they refuse, we will take the case further to British and American courts and we will demand a six-digit compensation," vowed Hashem, who considered the verdict as a victory to the people of Kuwait.
The ruling can still be appealed twice before the courts of appeals and cassation.
As per the complainants’ request, the compensation will be paid to the National Committee of Missing and POWs, a government committee looking after the interests of Kuwaitis who went missing in war.
Kuwait has recently granted a license for the Qatar-based station to open an office in the emirate. — (AFP, Kuwait City)
© Agence France Presse 2001
© 2001 Mena Report (www.menareport.com)