Prison for Kuwaiti man who insults the Prophet on Twitter

Published June 5th, 2012 - 08:01 GMT
Hamad al-Naqi
Hamad al-Naqi

A lower court in Kuwait sentenced a man to 10 years in jail on Monday on charges of insulting Islam's Prophet Mohammed, his wife Aisha and companions on Twitter, his lawyer Khaled al-Shatti said.

"We plan to challenge the ruling against my client Hamad al-Naqi in the appeals court and we are very optimistic that the higher court will cancel the sentence," Shatti said.

Naqi, 22, was also charged with insulting the Gulf regimes of Saudi Arabia and Bahrain and for spreading false news that undermined Kuwait's image abroad.

The charges were based on a number of tweets on his Twitter account, but Naqi told the interrogators that his account had been hacked, the lawyer said.

Naqi was arrested about three months ago and has been behind bars ever since.

In recent months, Kuwaiti courts have issued jail terms against tweeters and activists amid a sharp rise in sectarian tensions between the emirate's Sunni majority and Shia minority.

Parliament, which is controlled by Islamists and conservatives, last month passed a law stipulating the death penalty for serious religious offenses, but the bill has not yet been enacted.

Twitter is extremely popular in the Gulf state of 3 million and many public figures use the messaging site to debate politics, share gossip and advertise events.

Unlike print media, television and books, the state does not have the ability to censor electronic media and lacks specific laws for prosecution.

 

by Al Akhbar and agencies

 

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