Kuwait upholds four-year term for tweeting

Kuwait's Supreme Court on March 7 upheld the four-year prison sentence against an activist found guilty of insulting judges on Twitter. Ahmad Fadhel was convicted for writing comments considered offensive to a number of judges in Kuwait. Three top judges sued Fadhel for defamation, and a lower court issued the four-year sentence in October 2014. The appeals court upheld the sentence last February, and now the ruling by the Supreme Court is final.

Recent political unrest in the region has caused the Kuwait government to clamp down on online activists. Last April the Kuwait Supreme Court upheld a two-year prison sentence for a man accused of insulting the emir on Twitter. The convicted man, Ayyad al-Harbi, was an online journalist in his 20s who posted verses by an Iraqi poet critical of the nation's ruler. In June 2014 the Supreme Court similarly upheld the two-year sentence of an online activist for writing tweets found to be offensive to the emir. After the ruling, activist Hejab al-Hajeri said on his Twitter account that his "determination is bigger than their jail." In November 2013, Musaab Shamsah was sentenced to five years in prison for insulting the Prophet Muhammad in a Twitter post. In October 2013 an appeals court in Kuwait affirmed a 10-year prison sentence against Twitter commentator Hamad al-Naqi for posts deemed offensive to Islam.

From Jurist, March 7. Used with permission.