Kuwaiti sentenced to 10 years in jail for Twitter ‘blasphemy’
A court sentenced a 26-year-old Kuwaiti to 10 years in prison on Monday after ruling that he had endangered state security by insulting the Prophet Mohammed, his wife Ayesha and his companions on social media, 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 told AFP.
Naqi 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.
The sentence was the maximum that Naqi could have received, his told Reuters but the civil plaintiff and some Kuwaiti politicians had called for him to be put to death in a high-profile and divisive case that has stoked sectarian tensions in the Gulf state.
In recent months, Kuwaiti courts have issued jail terms against tweeters and activists.
Parliament, which is controlled by Islamists and conservatives, last month passed a law stipulating the death penalty for serious religious offences, but the bill has not yet been enacted.