Kuwait court jails tweeter for insulting emir

KUWAIT CITY (AA) – A Kuwaiti court on Monday sentenced an online activist to 20 months in jail after finding him guilty of "insulting" the country's emir, Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, on Twitter, judicial sources have said.

According to the sources, the court found Saqr al-Hashash guilty of insulting the ruler and challenging his authority on Twitter, as well as "misusing a cellphone."

The ruling is final as it was issued by the highest court in the country, according to the sources.

The Kuwaiti constitution describes the emir as "immune and inviolable," meaning it is illegal to criticize him.

Al-Hashash had been cleared of the charges in 2013, before prosecution authorities challenged the acquittal.

International rights campaigners accuse the Kuwaiti government of restricting the freedom of expression since the eruption of pro-reform protests in 2012, which led to the cabinet's resignation.

Kuwaiti authorities prosecuted dozens of people who expressed critical views of the government – via social media or during protests – in 2013, according to Human Rights Watch's 2014 world report.

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