Tuesday, January 08, 2013

No freedom of speech in Kuwait

Ayyad al-Harbi is a Kuwaiti tweeter. Two months ago he criticised the country's Emir online. He was arrested, and today he was sentenced to two years imprisonment:

A Kuwaiti court sentenced a man to two years in prison on Monday for insulting the country's ruler on Twitter, his lawyer said, the second person to be jailed for the offence in as many days.


The court sentenced Ayyad al-Harbi, who has more than 13,000 followers on Twitter, to the prison term two months after his arrest and release on bail.

Harbi used his Twitter account to criticise the Kuwait government and the emir. He tweeted on Sunday: "Tomorrow morning is my trial's verdict on charges of slander against the emir, spreading of false news."

And he's not the only one. Yesterday a second man, Rashid Saleh al-Anzi, was also jailed for two years for a similar offence. Sadly, the exact things these people said are not available - but the idea that someone should be jailed for criticising those in power is ridiculous and undemocratic. But then, Kuwait is a monarchy - so "ridiculous and undemocratic" pretty much sums up its entire constitutional structure.