Kuwait sentences 2nd man to jail for emir insult
Kuwait City, January 8, 2013
A Kuwaiti court sentenced a man to two years in prison on Monday for insulting the country's ruler on Twitter, his lawyer said, the second person to be jailed for the offence.
The state has clamped down in recent months on political activists who have been using social media websites to criticise the government and the ruling family.
Kuwait has seen a series of opposition-organised protests, including one on Sunday night, since Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad al-Sabah, used emergency powers in October to change the voting system.
The court sentenced Ayyad al-Harbi, who has more than 13,000 followers on Twitter, to the prison term two months after his arrest and release on bail.
Harbi used his Twitter account to criticise the Kuwait government and the emir. He tweeted on Sunday: "Tomorrow morning is my trial's verdict on charges of slander against the emir, spreading of false news."
His lawyer, Mohammed al-Humidi, said Harbi would appeal.
On Sunday, another man, Rashid Saleh al-Anzi was given two years in prison over a tweet that "stabbed the rights and powers of the emir", according to the online newspaper Alaan. Anzi, who has 5,700 Twitter followers, was expected to appeal.
Tensions have risen between Kuwait's hand-picked government, in which ruling family members hold the top posts, and the elected parliament and opposition groups. – Reuters