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Kuwait top court upholds 4-year sentence for insulting judges on Twitter

[JURIST] Kuwait's Supreme Court on Monday upheld the four-year jail sentence against an activist found guilty of insulting judges on Twitter. Ahmad Fadhel was convicted [AP report] for writing comments considered offensive to a number of judges in Kuwait. Three top judges sued Fadhel for defamation, and a lower court issued the four-year sentence in October 2014. The appeals court upheld the sentence last February, and now the ruling by the Supreme Court is final.

Recent political unrest in the region has caused the Kuwait [BBC backgrounder] governments to clamp down on online activists. In April the Kuwait Supreme Court upheld [JURIST report] a two-year prison sentence for a man accused of insulting the emir on Twitter. The convicted man, Ayyad al-Harbi, was an online journalist in his 20s who posted verses by an Iraqi poet critical of the nation's ruler. In June 2014 the Supreme Court similarly upheld [JURIST report] the two-year jail sentence of an opposition online activist for writing tweets found to be offensive to the emir. After the ruling, activist Hejab Al Hajeri said on his Twitter account that his "determination is bigger than their jail." In November 2013, Musaab Shamsah was sentenced to five years in prison [JURIST report] for insulting the Prophet Muhammad in a Twitter post. In October 2013 an appeals court in Kuwait affirmed a 10-year prison sentence [JURIST report] against Twitter commentator Hamad al-Naqi for posts deemed offensive to Islam.

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