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Kuwaiti woman sentenced to 11 years in jail for 'insulting' the emir on Twitter

The Arabic Network for Human Rights Information (ANHRI) denounces the continued prosecution of activists, bloggers and intellectuals by the Kuwaiti authorities based on vague charges used only by dictatorships.

On 10 May 2013, the Kuwaiti Criminal Court sentenced blogger Huda Al-Ajamy to 11 years in prison for insulting the emir and calling for regime change on social networking site Twitter.

Al-Ajamy denies having an account on Twitter as well as being the owner of the account that the authorities allege is hers.

The court sentenced her to five years on charges of 'inciting to overthrow the regime' and five years on charges of 'challenging the rights of the emir'. She's also getting an additional one year in prison on charges of 'insulting and undermining a religious doctrine'.

Since 2012, several unfair jail sentences have been issued against Kuwait's activists and bloggers. Many of them are presently awaiting trial.

From April 2012 to June 2013, the Kuwaiti courts issued 20 sentences against netizens ranging between three months to eleven years in jail on charges of insulting the emir and religion. Amongst those charged are: Mohamed El-Melify, Msallam Al-Barrak, Rashed Al-Anzi, Hamed El-Khaldy, Rashed El-Hajari, Bader El-Rashidy, Bader El-Wasamy, Saaed El-Asfour, Mohamed El-Wesahi, Saqar El-Hashash, Naser El-Dehany, Lourance El-Rashidy, Hamed El-Teky, Mohamed Eid El-Mekhial, Mohamed El-Jowaihal, Gamal El-Dawyi, Aid El-Haraby, Sarah El-Dress, Abdulaziz El-Metary and most recently Huda Al-Ajamy.

"The sentence issued against Al-Ajamy proves beyond doubt the huge setback that has taken place in Kuwait in the way of freedom of expression," said ANHRI, "the Kuwaiti authorities have been using repressive techniques to muzzle dissident voices including the prohibition of peaceful assemblies and demonstrations."

ANHRI also re-asserted its demands that the authorities review Kuwait's repressive laws and revoke articles in the laws that are vague enough to allow for the prosecution of activists and bloggers.

It demands that the authorities drop all the charges pressed against bloggers, intellectuals and activists for exercising their rights to freely express themselves.

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