A 26 year-old Kuwaiti man has been sentenced to 10 years in prison after being convicted of blasphemy on the social media network ‘Twitter’.
According to Reuters, Shi’ite Muslim Hamad al-Naqi pleaded not guilty to the accusations that he blasphemed the Prophet Mohammad and the Sunni Muslim rulers of Saudi Arabia and Bahrain on social media. Hamad claimed that his Twitter account had been hacked and they he did not post the messages.
Viewed as a threat to national security Judge Hisham Abdullah found Naqi guilty of all charges which included insulting the Prophet, the Prophet’s wife and companions, mocking Islam, provoking sectarian tensions, insulting the rulers of Saudi Arabia and Bahrain and misusing his mobile phone to spread the comments.
According to Naqi’s lawyer Khaled al-Shatti, the 10 year prison sentence was the maximum sentence that he could receive.
“The prison sentence is long but we have the chance to appeal,” Shatti said.
The plaintiff in the case, as well as many politicians involved in the case were actually calling for Naqi to be executed in light of the charges being brought against him.
“This verdict is a deterrent to those who insult the Prophet Mohammad, his companions and the mothers of the believers,” civil plaintiff Dowaem al-Mowazry said in a text message.
Naqi’s lawyer is arguing that even if his client did indeed write those messages of blasphemy then the only thing that Naqi is guilty of is a “crime of opinion”, completely undeserving of the sentence that has been charged against him.
Kuwaiti law gives the defense 20 days to file an appeal of jail sentence verdicts.