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Three former members of Kuwait's National Assembly sentenced to jail

In a hearing held on 8 June 2014, Kuwait's Court of Cassation sentenced three former members of the dissolved National Assembly to one year and eight months in prison over charges of insulting the Emirate's governor as well as the Emir himself. They were each offered bail of 2000 Kuwaiti Dinars ($USD7087) to suspend the sentence.

The ruling against the three members, Falah Al-Sawagh, Badr Al-Dahoum and Khaled Al-Tahous, was denounced by the Arabic Network for Human Rights Information on 10 June.

Earlier on 4 February 2013, a Kuwaiti criminal court sentenced the three individuals to three years in prison on the same charges. They were accused of insulting the Emir and the governor during a seminar that was held to comment on the one-vote decree issued in regards to National Assembly elections.

In July 2013, a Kuwaiti appeals court overturned the ruling against them and cleared them of all charges, but following their acquittal the Public Prosecutor intervened and challenged the verdict, leading to the sentences handed down to them presently.

"The Kuwaiti authorities' continued prosecution of activists and bloggers for insulting the Emir and the Emirate's governors is a clear violation of freedom of expression and opinion," said ANHRI. "When committing these violations, the authorities make use of the vague wording of some articles, such like articles 20 and 21 of the Press and Publications Law that allows Kuwaiti authorities to prosecute bloggers and opinion makers. Such abuse of the law led Kuwait to be ranked first in prosecuting bloggers and opinion makers for voicing their opinions peaceably."

ANHRI added that the judgment handed down against the three members proves that the Kuwaiti judiciary issues rulings to serve the ruling regime and doesn't enforce the law as it should be.

ANHRI calls on Kuwaiti authorities to drop all charges against prisoners of conscience and calls for their prompt release.

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