by WorldTribune Staff, May 31, 2016
Three members of Kuwait’s ruling family were each sentenced to five years in prison for insulting the country’s emir on an internet messaging service.
The men were sentenced on May 30 for posts on Whatsapp that were determined to be insulting to Emir Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad al-Jaber al-Sabah, local media reported.
The Kuwaiti court handed out jail terms to three other men as well as to the three royals, one of seven people acquitted in the case told Reuters, adding that the convicted defendants intend to appeal their sentences.
One of the convicted men is Sheikh Athbi al-Fahad al-Sabah, a former intelligence chief and brother of influential sports power broker Sheikh Ahmad al-Fahad al-Sabah, the defendant said. Sheikh Athbi is also a nephew of Kuwait’s emir.
Although Kuwait has an open political systems and elected lawmakers and media commentators often attack the government and senior ruling family members over policy, the emir has the final say in political matters and criticizing him is forbidden.
In 2015, royal family member Sheikh Ahmad al-Fahad received a suspended prison sentence and a fine in for quoting remarks by the emir without permission.
In 2012 police released a ruling family member after holding him for several days over remarks on Twitter in which he accused authorities of corruption and called for political reforms.