Kuwaitis jailed for insulting Emir

The Kuwaiti Court of Appeals yesterday upheld a two-year jail term against 13 citizens convicted on charges of “insulting the Emir”.

The court has also sentenced the 13 defendants to a three-year suspended sentence.

The defendants were arrested after reading a speech by former lawmaker Musallam Al-Barrak in 2012 in which he criticised the internal conditions of the country.

Al-Barrak is currently serving a two year term on the same charges.

The ruling can be challenged before the Court of Cassation.

Human Rights Watch (HRW) has repeatedly criticised the Gulf states for their crackdown on freedom of expression.

“The Gulf states have engaged in a systematic and well-funded assault on free speech to subvert the potentially transformative impact of social media and internet technology,” said HRW’s Middle East Director, Sarah Leah Whitson.

She further called on them to “carry out the much-needed reforms that many of these activists have demanded for years” instead of “hauling off their peaceful online critics to jail.”

Source: middleeastmonitor.com

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