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Kuwait top court jails activist for insulting judges

AFP , Monday 7 Mar 2016
Kuwait Sheikh Sabah Al Ahmad Al Sabah
Emir of Kuwait Sheikh Sabah Al Ahmad Al Sabah (AP)
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Kuwait's supreme court on Monday upheld a four-year jail term against an online activist for insulting judges on Twitter.

The court, whose rulings are final, convicted Ahmad Fadhel for writing comments on Twitter deemed offensive to a number of judges, the court verdict said.

Three top judges sued the activist, claiming they were subjected to defamation.0

A lower court issued the same sentence against Fadhel in October 2014. The ruling was upheld by the appeals court in February last year.

Courts in the oil-rich Gulf state have sentenced dozens of Twitter users to jail terms, mainly for insulting the country's ruler. Dozens of others are still awaiting trial on similar charges.

Since a political crisis in June 2012, Kuwaiti authorities have ramped up efforts to curtail dissent.

Courts have sentenced politicians, online activists and journalists to prison terms for exercising free speech rights, Human Rights Watch has said.

Key opposition leader and former parliamentarian Mussallam al-Barrak has been in jail for a year, serving a two-year jail term for insulting the country's ruler at a public rally.

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