Kuwait: Twitter user imprisoned for five years for ‘insulting’ Muhammad

A Kuwaiti man has been sentenced to five years in prison for a Twitter comment reportedly insulting the prophet Muhammad. 

Musab Shamsah was arrested by local police in May for posting on his Twitter account that Hassan and Hussein, the sons of Muhammad’s cousin, Ali, were more honest than Muhammad himself. He received a sentence of one-year imprisonment for mocking religion under article 11 of the penal code, and an extra four years for violating the 2012 National Unity Law for publishing content that could be deemed offensive to religious “sects” or groups.

Shamsah pleaded not guilty to all charges during his hearing on 18 November at the Kuwaiti Court of First Instance, arguing that his tweet had been misinterpreted by prosecutors. The tweet was deleted 10 minutes after it was published, with Shamsah following it up with two clarifying messages.

Human Rights Watch has condemned the sentence imposed on Shamsah, imploring that Kuwaiti prosecutors should stop detaining people for their peaceful expression of religious, political, or other views.

“It’s an insult to all Kuwaitis for the government to give itself the authority to decide what’s insulting to religion, and to jail Kuwaitis for it,” said Sarah Leah Whitson, Middle East director at Human Rights Watch. “Let each Kuwaiti decide what he or she finds insulting, and as simple as clicking ‘unfollow,’ decide whether they want to see or hear a message.”

Shamsah’s lawyer will file for an appeal on 20 November.

Eerlier this week as an Emirati activist was handed down a two-year jail sentence for tweeting.

This article was originally posted on 21 Nov 2013 at indexoncensorship.org

Kuwait: 10-year sentence for Twitter blasphemer

A Kuwaiti man was sentenced to 10 years in prison on Monday after being convicted of endangering state security as a result of messages he sent on Twitter. The judge found Hamad al-Naqi guilty of insulting the prophet Muhammad and Islam, and insulting the rulers of neighbouring Saudi Arabia and Bahrain. Al-Naqi pleaded innocent at the start of the trial last month, saying his Twitter account had been hacked and he had not posted the messages.

Kuwait: Blogger sentenced to ten years in prison

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Kuwait: Writer imprisoned

Kuwaiti writer Mohamed al-Melify was jailed for  seven years on Monday on charges of spreading false statements via Twitter. He was arrested last February, and the Kuwait Criminal Court found him guilty of spreading false news about sectarian divisions in the country and publishing insults about Shiism, in addition to charges of libel and defaming a member of the Kuwaiti National Assembly, Ahmed Lari.