I love it when Kuwaiti liberals get indignant and start throwing around words like FREE SPEECH! This is the thing; Khaled Alfadalah's situation is not merely about free speech. (Well not in the FREE SPEECH! sense, atleast not to me.)
There's a few things that are feeding our rage:
1) It seems that money-laundering is okay to do but not okay to talk about. (good post on money-laundering here.)
2) Sheikh Nasser Al-Mohammad is the first Prime Minister to think of himself as a private citizen and sue political activists. Hereby, breaking with Kuwait's political tradition of free speech. (see MP Ahmad Alsa'adoun/Sheikh Ahmad AlFahad for most slandered in Kuwait, not a single lawsuit brought up by them.)
3) Alfadalah didn't really slander him.
4) His sentence was unusually harsh for a slander case (3 months, KD 150)
5) Apparently, the Prime Minister's counsel Emad Alsaif's argument was based on the fact that the Prime Minister was going to be Amir.
6) The liberals haven't had a guy of theirs be "harmed" by the government in almost twenty years. (Correct me if I'm wrong but not since Alnaibari/Aljouan's assassination attempts.
7) Khaled's arrest came the day after Mohammad Aljassem's release from prison. This all seems like a witch-hunt.
I think Sheikh Nasser Al-Mohammad miscalculated when he chose Khaled:
1) His history, unlike that of Aljassem, is squeaky clean. Few people doubt his intentions.
2) The liberals have been pretty compliant with the Prime Minister, why start a fight on more fronts?
3) He gained street cred with both the Popular Block (Alsha3bi) and bedou for standing up against with Albarrak and Agaila rallies.
4) He's from a good well-connected family. Solid middle-class, not seen as over-privileged. He's a "one of us" to a large number of Kuwaitis.
5) He has a young family.
6) He's well-spoken, media savvy, sincere and very well mannered.
I've written about Sheikh Nasser Al-Mohammad: here, here, and here. Writing about him gets kind of old.