Rashid Saleh al-Anzi of Kuwait is facing a prison sentence over insulting the country's emir online, on Twitter.According to the Belfast Telegraph, 26-year-old Rashed al-Enezi is a political activist, outspoken against the emir in the past. He has a large following on Twitter and has often supported the opposition through online propaganda.
The tweet that got the Kuwaiti man in trouble allegedly tarnished the image of state leader Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah.
The Twitter user has been sentenced to 2 years in prison, according to reports by several local news outlets, such as the state-owned Al-Watan newspaper.
Kuwait is a sovereign Arab state, neighboring Saudi Arabia and Iraq. It is ruled by a parliamentary government, and registers as a constitutional emirate. It is the eleventh richest state in the world, judging by per-capita income, and holds the spot for fifth largest oil reserves, Wikipedia informs.
According to Ahram Online, the emir is protected from slander and criticism in the emirate's constitution, making it illegal to speak against him.
Many speculate that the young activist will appeal the court's decision. Mohammad al-Humaidi, head of the independent Kuwait Society for Human Rights, supports Rashed al-Enezi, claiming the court's verdict was not supported by evidence, and implying the sentence was simply political retaliation.
"The charges were not based on solid accusations but on wrong interpretation of the tweets by authorities. Most of the charges are fabricated," Humaidi says.
Rashid Saleh al-Anzi is only 1 of 25 social media activists, all of a young age, who were arrested following the opposition's protests against the ruling government in the last elections.
A total of 200 opposition supporters, a group which includes members of the former government, are to be tried. One of those, along with another Twitter supporter, stand to be sentenced today, Monday, January 7.