Kuwaiti sentenced for Twitter post on emir

A man looks at a computer monitor showing

A man looks at a computer monitor showing the and old and new Twitter logos in Washington DC. (June 6, 2012) Photo Credit: Getty Images

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KUWAIT -- A court sentenced a man to five years in prison yesterday for insulting the emir on Twitter, a rights lawyer and news websites said, in the latest prosecution for criticism of authorities via social media in the Gulf Arab state.

The court gave Kuwaiti Mohammad Eid al-Ajmi the maximum sentence for the comments, news websites al-Rai and alaan.cc reported.

In recent months Kuwait has penalized several Twitter users for criticizing the emir, who is described in the constitution as "immune and inviolable."

"We call on the government to expand freedoms and adhere to the international [human rights] conventions it has signed," said lawyer Mohammad al-Humaidi, director of the Kuwait Society for Human Rights, commenting on the case.

Amnesty International said in November that Kuwait had increased restrictions on freedom of expression and assembly. It urged Kuwait to ensure protection for users of social media, whether they supported or opposed the government, as long as they did not incite racial hatred or violence. -- Reuters

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