Kuwaiti court jails Sunni muslim for anti-Shiite tweets

Kuwaiti court jails Sunni muslim for anti-Shiite tweets

Tuesday, September 9, 2014 3:34 pm

A Kuwaiti court sentenced a Sunni Islamist activist to three years in jail Tuesday for posting remarks deemed derogatory to Shiite Muslims on his Twitter account.

Mubarak al-Bathali, who was jailed for six months in 2011 on similar charges, was sentenced after the court found enough evidence that his tweets constituted an insult to the faith of minority Shiites and undermined national unity, a copy of the ruling said.

Mubarak al-Bathali

Mubarak al-Bathali

The sentence was confirmed by Bathali on his Twitter account and was criticised as harsh by online activists.

The ruling was based on a 2013 law setting tough jail terms for people convicted of threatening national unity.

Shiite lawyer Ali al-Ali, who filed the suit against Bathali, told AFP that several months ago, the activist wrote tweets deemed insulting to Prophet Mohammed’s daughter Fatima.

Under Shiite Islam, Fatima is highly revered, and Bathali’s remark poked fun at Shiite narratives about her.

The verdict could be appealed, but Bathali has to start serving the sentence immediately according to the ruling.

Kuwait issued the national unity law last year amid rising sectarian tension in the oil-rich emirate where Shiites form around a third of the 1.25 million native population.

Over the past few years, Kuwaiti courts passed dozens of jail sentences against online activists for religious offences and those critical to the emir.

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