Kuwaiti royal family members jailed for insulting Emir in WhatsApp group

  • Thirteen people had undergone trial in the Kuwait court for sending insulting messages in a WhatsApp group
  • Among the group, six people, including the three members of a royal  family, received prison sentences while seven people were acquitted
  • The court obtained a phone history of WhatsApp messages of the group which showed the defendants planning to publish anonymous Twitter posts that will share fabricated videos of judges receiving bribes

SALMIYA, Kuwait – Three members of the Kuwaiti royal family, together with three others, will be spending jail time after proven guilty by the court of insulting the country’s ruler in a private group chatroom on messaging app WhatsApp.

Mary-Ann Russon mentioned in her article for International Business Times published on May 31 that thirteen people had undergone a trial by the Kuwait court for sending insulting messages in a WhatsApp group.

Among the thirteen, six people, including the three royals, received prison sentences while seven people were acquitted.

Although Kuwait permits lawmakers and the media to criticize the government and the royal family over policy decisions, it is still strictly forbidden to criticize Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad al-Sabah; the Emir of Kuwait.

The Emir of Kuwait makes the final decisions on all stand regarding different political issues.

Sylvia Westall mentioned in her article for Reuters published on May 30 that Sheikh Athbi al-Fahad al-Sabah, one of the three royals convicted, was the former intelligence chief of the country and a nephew of the Emir.

The royals were sentenced on Monday, together with other co-defendants who were found guilty by Kuwait’s Emir Sheikh Sabah Al Ahmed Al Jaber Al Sabah.

The court obtained a phone history of the WhatsApp messages of the group which showed the defendants planning to publish anonymous Twitter posts that will share fabricated videos of judges receiving bribes.

Reports said three of the defendants were sentenced to five years in prison, while one of them was sentenced to 10 years. It is not identified who among the defendants received the mentioned punishment, but it was confirmed all defendants are able to appeal their case.

This is not the first time someone was imprisoned in Kuwait for insulting their Emir; as back in 2015, Sheikh Ahmad al-Fahad received a six-month-long suspended prison sentence and a fine for quoting comments made by the Emir without his prior permission.

Ahmad is an international sports figure and current president of the Olympic Council of Asia.

Back in 2013, 37-year-old teacher Huda al-Amji was sentenced to 11 years in jail for insulting the Emir on Twitter. The female teacher had been given two consecutive five-year sentences for insulting the Emir and one year for insulting a religious sect.

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