Kuwaiti gets 10 years for Twitter blasphemy

Judge found him guilty of insulting the Prophet, mocking Islam, provoking sectarian tensions. Plaintiff had sought death penalty.

By REUTERS
June 4, 2012 15:14
2 minute read.
Twitter Homepage

Twitter 311. (photo credit: Courtesy of Twitter homepage)

 
X

Dear Reader,
As you can imagine, more people are reading The Jerusalem Post than ever before. Nevertheless, traditional business models are no longer sustainable and high-quality publications, like ours, are being forced to look for new ways to keep going. Unlike many other news organizations, we have not put up a paywall. We want to keep our journalism open and accessible and be able to keep providing you with news and analyses from the frontlines of Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish World.

As one of our loyal readers, we ask you to be our partner.

For $5 a month you will receive access to the following:

  • A user experience almost completely free of ads
  • Access to our Premium Section
  • Content from the award-winning Jerusalem Report and our monthly magazine to learn Hebrew - Ivrit
  • A brand new ePaper featuring the daily newspaper as it appears in print in Israel

Help us grow and continue telling Israel’s story to the world.

Thank you,

Ronit Hasin-Hochman, CEO, Jerusalem Post Group
Yaakov Katz, Editor-in-Chief

UPGRADE YOUR JPOST EXPERIENCE FOR 5$ PER MONTH Show me later Don't show it again

KUWAIT - A Kuwaiti man was sentenced to 10 years in prison on Monday after being convicted of endangering state security by insulting the Prophet Mohammad and the Sunni Muslim rulers of Saudi Arabia and Bahrain on social media.

Shi'ite Muslim 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.

Be the first to know - Join our Facebook page.


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 defense can file an appeal within 20 days of the verdict.

The civil plaintiff arguing the case against Naqi, as well as some Kuwaiti politicians, had called for Naqi to be put to death in a high-profile and divisive case that has stoked sectarian tensions in the Gulf state.

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 in black balaclavas.



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.

Kuwait's parliament, where opposition Islamists have grown in influence, endorsed a legal amendment last month that would make insulting God and the Prophet Mohammad by Muslims punishable by death instead of the current maximum penalty of 10 years in jail.

Any change in the law has to be approved by Kuwait's ruler, Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad al-Sabah, who can also pardon people convicted of crimes. The government has so far rejected the push to bring in the death penalty, according to Kuwaiti media.

Related Content

Supreme Court President Asher Grunis
August 28, 2014
Grapevine: September significance

By GREER FAY CASHMAN