Five online activists have been detained in Kuwait, allegedly for comments considered offensive to the late Saudi King, Abdullah Bin Abdelaziz, reports
Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Monitor.
Kuwaiti authorities continue to detain several activists for practicing their right to freedom of expression, accusing them of “criticizing” and “insulting” the emir of Kuwait, Subah Alahmed Al-Subah, and have sentenced them to harsh punishment.
Secret security forces detained Muhammed Khaled Al-Ajami, a human rights activist, on Jan. 28. Al-Ajami was interrogated about tweets criticizing Saudi Arabia, then imprisoned for four days prior to a public hearing on Feb. 2.
Kuwaiti security forces had detained Saleh Al-Mulla, another activist, earlier in January for tweets criticizing Kuwait’s decision to offer Egypt $4 billion in aid despite a decline in oil prices. Al-Mulla was released on bail six days later, with a court hearing scheduled for Feb. 15.
The Kuwaiti Court of Cassation also sentenced Saqr Al-Hashash to 20 months imprisonment for tweets it said “undermined the status of the emir.” Fifty-seven individulas have been imprisoned due to this charge in the last three years. Meanwhile, the head of the Kuwaiti parliament, Marzouq Al-Ghanim, declared that the body would take legal action to hold accountable "those who insulted the leadership of the UAE on a TV show.” His threat came shortly after a former member of the Kuwaiti Parliament, Mubarak Al-Dweila, criticized the UAE’s policy of labeling the Muslim Brotherhood and other organizations as terrorist groups.
Euro-Med Monitor considers such acts as contributing to an escalation of repression practiced by the Kuwaiti authorities for the last three years. In 2014, 15 activists were detained for criticizing the Kuwatiti government and calling for peaceful demonstration. Among them were five activists sentenced to several years of imprisonment, including one to five years.
Euro-Med Monitor calls on the Kuwaiti government to fulfill its responsibilities as a state party to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights by halting its arrests of opponents and activists, and to amend the Kuwaiti Penal Code, which requires sentencing of those who “undermine the status of the emir” to several years of imprisonment.