Mohammed Al-Sager

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Mohammed Jassem Al-Sager
Chairman of the Arab Parliament
In office
2005–2009
Member of the National Assembly of Kuwait
In office
1999–2009
Personal details
Born (1951-06-18) 18 June 1951 (age 63)
Nationality Kuwaiti
Political party National Democratic Alliance
Alma mater Whittier College
Occupation banker, journalist, politician

Mohammed Jassem Al-Sager (born 18 June 1951; Arabic: محمد جاسم الصقر‎) is an award-winning journalist, former member of the National Assembly of Kuwait, and former chairman of the Arab Parliament.

Background[edit]

Al-Sager received a Bachelor's degree in economics from Whittier College (California, US) in 1975.[1] He then worked for five years at the Industrial Bank of Kuwait, where he became Corporate Finance Manager.[1] In 1980, he left the bank to become Chairman and Managing Director of Coast Investment & Development Co.[1]

Journalism[edit]

In 1983 he began working as a journalist, serving as editor-in-chief of Al-Qabas (English: "The Firebrand"), a daily newspaper.[2] He continued in the role until his election to Parliament in 1999.[1] In 1992 he was awarded the International Press Freedom Award of the Committee to Protect Journalists "for courageous reporting on political and human rights issues in the face of government threats of censorship and prosecution".[2]

Along with colleague Ibrahim Marzouk, he was sentenced to six months in prison in 1998 on charges of "insulting the essence of the Divine Being", following the publication of a joke on Al-Qabas's "Entertainment" page: "Why did God expel Adam and Eve from paradise? Because they did not pay the rent."[2] The newspaper was also closed for one week.[2] The Committee to Protect Journalists protested the men's sentences,[2] which were overturned by an appeals court in January 1999.[3]

Political career[edit]

Al-Sager served in the National Assembly of Kuwait from 1999 to 2009.[4] While political parties are technically illegal in Kuwait, Al-Sager affiliates with the liberal National Democratic Alliance party. In 2006, he and Musallam Al-Barrak opposed Minister of Information Mohammed Al-Sanousi's re-appointment, due to the limits they said he had placed on freedom of the press.[5] Al-Sanousi resigned on 17 December 2006, one day before he was due to be grilled by parliament. Al-Barrak suggested Al-Sanousi had been forced to quit, calling it "a victory for the constitution, democracy and freedom".[6]

From 2005 to 2009, he also served as Chairman of the Arab Parliament,[4] in which role he worked with King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia and President Hosni Mubarak of Egypt to promote a reconciliation between battling Palestinian factions Hamas and Fatah.[7] Al-Sager is also a member of the General Secretariat of the New York-based Council on Foreign Relations.[4]

In May 2009, Al-Sager joined several other Kuwaiti MPs in declining to run for re-election to the Kuwaiti National Assembly. Al-Sager stated that he believed the next parliament would "also fail to implement the awaited reforms", these being an economic stimulus bill and a boost to the country's infrastructure.[8]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d "International Board: Mohammed Jassem Al-Sager". US/Middle East Project. Retrieved 7 June 2011. 
  2. ^ a b c d e "CPJ Deplores Sentencing of Two Journalists by Kuwait". Committee to Protect Journalists. 25 July 1998. Retrieved 28 May 2011. 
  3. ^ "Attacks on the Press 1999: Saudi Arabia". Committee to Protect Journalists. 22 March 2002. Retrieved 28 May 2011. 
  4. ^ a b c "7th Arab Media Forum 2008 speakers". Arab Media Forum. 25 July 1998. Retrieved 28 May 2011. 
  5. ^ Ahmad Al-Khaled (5 July 2006). "Lawmakers want 'clean' ministers". Kuwait Times.  – via HighBeam Research (subscription required). Retrieved 2 November 2012. 
  6. ^ B. Izzak (18 December 2006). "Sanousi makes backdoor exit". Kuwait Times.  – via HighBeam Research (subscription required). Retrieved 2 November 2012. 
  7. ^ Deutsche Presse-Agentur (25 July 1998). "Arab Parliament stages Hamas, Fatah reconciliation bid". Haaretz. Retrieved 28 May 2011. 
  8. ^ Mary Ann Tétreault and Mohammed Al-Ghanim (8 July 2009). "The Day After "Victory": Kuwait’s 2009 Election and the Contentious Present". Middle East Research and Information Project. Retrieved 28 May 2011.