A Kuwaiti court sentenced a ruling family member to three years in prison on Tuesday on charges of insulting the Gulf state’s ruler and other royals.
Any criticism of Emir Shaikh Sabah Al Ahmad Al Jaber Al Sabah can result in charges of insulting him. Dozens of opposition activists have been jailed for the offence in the recent years.
The charges against Shaikh Abdullah Salem Al Sabah, grandson of the Emir’s late half-brother Shaikh Abdullah Al Ahmad Al Sabah, stemmed from video messages he posted on Snapchat early last year in which he strongly criticised the functioning of the government.
Al Sabah family members hold all main cabinet posts and Shaikh Abdullah singled out several of them for criticism.
The court ordered that he pay $16,500 (Dh60,555) in damages to one of them.
He can appeal his conviction.
It is not Shaikh Abdullah’s first run-in with the Kuwaiti authorities. In 2012, he was questioned for posting comments on Twitter deemed sympathetic to the opposition and critical of the Emir.
In June last year, he was detained for 10 days pending interrogation for criticising the Emir.
The following month, a court acquitted him in a similar case.
Among the dozens of dissidents jailed for criticising the Emir in the recent years is prominent opposition leader and former MP Mussallam Al Barrak, who is serving a two-year jail term for comments he made at a public rally.