Kuwaiti gets 10 years for Twitter blasphemy
Kuwait, June 4, 2012
A Kuwaiti man was sentenced to 10 years in prison on Monday after being convicted of endangering state security by insulting the Prophet and rulers of other GCC states on social media.
Hamad Al-Naqi pleaded innocent at the start of the trial last month, saying he did not post the messages and that his Twitter account had been hacked.
The written verdict, delivered by Judge Hisham Abdullah, found Naqi guilty of all charges, a court secretary told Reuters. The sentence was the maximum that 26-year-old Naqi could have received, his lawyer Khaled Al-Shatti said.
The judge found him guilty of insulting the Prophet, the Prophet's wife and companions, mocking Islam, provoking sectarian tensions, insulting the rulers of Saudi Arabia and Bahrain and misusing his mobile phone to spread the comments.
"The prison sentence is long but we have the chance to appeal," Shatti said. Under Kuwaiti law, the defence can file an appeal within 20 days of the verdict.
Naqi did not appear in court on Monday. He was in the central prison where he has been held since his arrest in March, the court secretary said. He appeared in previous sessions in a wooden and metal cage, guarded by armed guards.
Shatti had argued that even if his client had written the remarks, he would be guilty of a "crime of opinion", not of threatening national security. He told the court last week that Naqi was being used as a political tool.
The civil plaintiff, Dowaem al-Mowazry, has argued that Naqi must be made an example of, which was why the death penalty was appropriate. - Reuters