Kuwaiti Shiite tweep denies insulting prophet: lawyer

AFP , Monday 21 May 2012

22-year-old Kuwaiti charged for insults to religion, Saudi Arabia and Bahrain on Twitter claims account hacked

A Kuwaiti Shiite tweeter on Monday denied in court charges that he insulted Islam's Prophet Mohammed, his wife Aisha and some companions, his lawyer Khaled al-Shatti said.

Besides religious insults, the 22-year-old tweeter, Hamad Al-Naqi, was also charged with insulting the Gulf regimes of Saudi Arabia and Bahrain and for spreading false news that undermined Kuwait's image abroad, Shatti told AFP.

The charges were based on a number of tweets on his Twitter account, but Naqi had told the interrogators that his account was hacked, the lawyer said.

The judge refused to release Naqi who has been in detention for the last two months and postponed the trial for May 28, Shatti said.

If convicted, Naqi faces several years in jail, but a law passed by parliament this month stipulating the death penalty for serious religious offences will not apply to him as it is yet to be signed by the Kuwaiti emir, the lawyer added.

In recent months, Kuwaiti courts have issued jail terms against tweeters and activists amid a sharp rise in sectarian tensions between the kingdom's Sunni majority and Shiite minority.

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