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Kuwait: Three Netizens Sentenced to Prison

Categories: Kuwait, Legal Threats

Since the Arab Spring first sparked, Kuwaiti authorities have been following internet users closely and summoning them to interrogation and then sending them to courts for prosecution over different cases [1] that are mostly sectarian or political.

The first case was of Lawrence Al-Rishidi at the beginning of last year and it was kept very low after the orders of state security police. The latter seems to have pressed local media not to discuss the case of Al-Rishidi and after almost one year and a half in jail waiting for his trial, Al-Rishidi was sentenced to ten years in jail for insulting the ruler of the country, an act criminalized by the constitution. The appeal court of Kuwait made its decision based on this charge and other charges such as Al-Rishidi's YouTube videos (which disappeared after his arrest) that contained criticism of the country's system, constitution, and laws. He found the constitution to be corrupt, the laws to be immoral, and called for tribes to elect someone to rule the country after overthrowing the regime. Therefore, Al-Rishidi was sentenced harshly over charges of national security too.

Al-Naqi's picture below a picture of the protest that called for his execution

The other netizen who was sentenced to prison has the most famous case so far. Hamad Al-Naqi is a Shia young man from Kuwait who was arrested for insulting prophet Mohammed, his wife, and his companions and for insulting the rulers of Bahrain and Saudi Arabia. The prison sentence was 10 years as well from the criminal court and will still go to the appeal court. The fame of Hamad's case is due to the way many citizens and parliament members called for his death to apply Islamic laws despite his claims that his account was hacked. The parliament passed a law to execute anyone insulting God, Islam, the prophet, his companions, and his wife. Hamad was also stabbed in jail by another Kuwaiti who is in jail because of terrorism charges. The blasphemy law was blocked by the Amir himself who has as well blocked an attempt by the parliament to Islamsize national laws. The Amir said the blasphemy law is inconsiderate of sectarian differences and is against the constitution.

Tweep Nasser Al-Ansary

The latest case is on Nasser Al-Ansary, another tweep (@Nas10000 [2]) sentenced to five years in jail for insulting the Amir. The criminal court made its decision saying Al-Ansary has insulted the ruler of the country through his tweets. The content of those tweets are still not known.