Kuwait upholds jail for Shia over prophet tweets

AFP , Monday 28 Oct 2013

Ten-year jail sentence handed down to Shia tweeter in Kuwait for allegedly insulting Islam's Prophet Mohammed, his wife and companions

Kuwait's court of appeals on Monday upheld a 10-year jail term against a Shia tweeter for remarks deemed offensive to Islam's Prophet Mohammed, his wife and companions.

Hamad al-Naqi, 23, who has been in jail since March 2012, was found guilty of the religious insults and of criticising the leaders of neighbouring Saudi Arabia and Bahrain, according to the court ruling.

He was handed the heavy sentence by a lower court in June last year. The ruling can still be challenged in the supreme court.

Naqi was tried on charges of insulting Islam's Prophet Mohammed, in addition to his wife Aisha and several companions, who are revered by Sunni Muslims.

He posted the offensive messages on two Twitter accounts in February and March of 2012, according to the ruling.

Naqi claimed his Twitter accounts were hacked during that period.

In recent months, Kuwait has jailed tweeters and activists amid sectarian tensions between the emirate's Sunni majority and Shiite minority.

Opposition activists have also been jailed for using Twitter to insult the emir of the oil-rich Gulf state.

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