A Kuwaiti priest has appealed against a three and a half-year prison sentence for injuring opponents to his appointment as the head of a Christian church, reported the Gulf News daily, quoting local press reports.
The appointment of Emmanuel Benjamen Al Gharib last January as pastor of the National Evangelical Church of Kuwait triggered an uproar inside the church among supporters of the previous pastor, a Canadian priest of Egyptian origin, which led to fisticuffs and legal battles, said the paper.
Emmanuel, 50, his brother and other supporters were each sentenced to three and a half years in a verdict "which is expected to have international repercussions", the daily Al Watan reported.
There are a handful of Christian families among the 820,000 Kuwaiti citizens. But several churches of various denominations are active in Kuwait serving large congregations from among the 1.4 million-strong foreign community in the country, said the Gulf News.
Religious freedom in Kuwait has been praised recently by some international groups and organizations, said a report by The Associated Press (AP).
The Vatican has said Kuwait has a "vibrant" Roman Catholic community of some 100,000 people, said the agency -- Albawaba.com