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HRW condemns jailing in Kuwait over religious tweets
November 21, 2013, 10:23 am

Human Rights Watch on Wednesday condemned a five-year jail term slapped on a Kuwaiti for tweets deemed offensive to Prophet Mohammad (PBUP) and called for his release.

Musaab Shamsah was the second Kuwaiti from the Shiite community to be jailed in less than a month on the same charge.

The Kuwait appeals court last month upheld a 10-year jail term against Hamad Al Naqi for posting remarks on Twitter deemed offensive to the prophet.

Shamsah, in his early 20s, was arrested in May after tweeting about the lineage of some of Islam’s holiest figures that angered other Muslims in Kuwait.

“The Kuwaiti authorities should drop all charges against Shamsah for his peaceful religious comment,” the New York-based HRW said.

“It’s an insult to all Kuwaitis for the government to give itself the authority to decide what’s insulting to religion, and to jail Kuwaitis for it,” said Sarah Leah Whitson, Middle East director at HRW.

Since a political crisis in June 2012, Kuwaiti authorities have ramped up their efforts to limit free expression, charging dozens of politicians, online activists, and journalists with “offending” Kuwait’s head of state, other regional leaders and the prophet, among other charges, HRW said.

“The authorities should drop charges against those accused or convicted of crimes solely for exercising their right to express critical views on any subject, no matter how sensitive,” it said.


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