Seven months after the sentencing a Twitter user to five years in jail for defaming the Emir of Kuwait, another Twitter user Ayyad Al-Harbi was sentenced this Monday to two years in jail for the same charge. Al-Harbi wrote several tweets critical of the Emir and the oppression practiced against protesters. According to the court order (published by Sabr online), the tweets Ayyad was prosecuted for contain the following lines:
- Damn any ruler who jails his people. Damn any ruler that has more opposition than supporters.
– Your highness, the best unity between Kuwaitis happened in Erada square and you targeted it.
– What is left? no revolution, no development, no freedom, no dignity, no parliament, no voting, no protests, no objection, for God's sake, what are you doing to us?
– So I should either insult and accuse people of things with no proof and say it is freedom or I should say my account is hacked and get released?
– If you are not Kuwaiti, then you are from the Gulf. You will face the oppression and tyranny and arrests with a bit of oil.
– The tyrant and oppressor should not be apologized to, he should fall down and be on trial and jailed and killed.
– Curse the state that does not stop its dogs from eating the dignity of its people just because they are opposing.
Al-Harbi was also charged for retweeting a poem by Iraqi poet Ahmed Matar critical of dictators. The tweep also wrote a tweet when the Emir left to Jordan saying:
Since he left to Amman for fishing, the children sang for rain after the adults were singing “beating the people has become a norm.”
Right after his sentence was announced, Al-Harbi tweeted his last tweet:
أحبّــــّــّــك .. يا وطن !
@ayyadQ8Q8: I love you, my country!
Al-Harbi posted on the 6th of January that he is facing three charges:
غداً صباحاً النطق بمحاكمتي على تهم أمن الدولة ( الطعن بالذات الأميرية / نشر أخبار كاذبة بالخارج / إساءة إستخدام هاتف ) لا تحرمونا من دعائكم
@ayyadQ8Q8: Tomorrow morning, the court verdict on my case will be made regarding charges made by the state security: defaming the Emir, spreading false news abroad, and misusing a cellphone. Your prayers matter.
Twitter users from Kuwait and other countries wrote critically of having such a sentence that violates one's right to free speech. Ayyad's friend Hussain Al-Shammari posted Ayyad's picture with a comment:
Sabr online newspaper posted a picture of Ayyad's Kuwaiti passport in reaction to those accusing him of being Saudi citizen:
Egyptian activist Gamal Eid commented in solidarity:
صديقنا وزميلنا عياد الحربي من الكويت ، حتى أمس كان يغرد معنا ، والان اضيف لقائمة سجناء الرأي رقم جديد !!
@gamaleid: Our friend and colleague Ayyad al-Harbi from Kuwait was with us tweeting until yesterday and has become now a new number in the list of prisoners of conscience.
Monther alhabeeb, from Kuwait, who was arrested before in a protest, wrote a tweet after Ayyad's sentence and about the other detainees in Kuwait Rashed Al-Enizi and Salam Al-Rujaib, who were arrested in the latest opposition rally, and Bedoon [stateless] activist Abdulhakim Al-Fadhli:
كل دقيقة لكم في الزنازين تستنشقون بها حريتكم، هي تمر علينا كالساعات نتجرع بها الإنكسار. الحربي العنزي الرجيب الفضلي
@Montheralhabeeb: In every minute passing while you're in jail, you breathe your freedom. Those minutes pass like hours for us as we taste grief.