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Kuwait blogger gets 10 years in prison for Twitter comments

Kuwaiti policewomen perform during an officers graduation ceremony at the Saad Al-Abdullah Academy for Security Sciences in Kuwait City on March 29, 2011.


Yasser al-Zayyat

A blogger in Kuwait was sentenced to 10 years in prison for allegedly insulting the Prophet Mohammed on Twitter, Gulf News reported

Hamad al-Naqi, a Shiite Muslim, was also found guilty of mocking leaders of Saudi Arabia and Bahrain, BBC News reported. Sunni activists are asking that he receive the death penalty, but Naqi says his account was hacked.

Under a law endorsed by the Kuwaiti parliament last month, any Muslim who insults the Prophet Mohammed or other aspects of the Islam faith must receive prison time. People who insult the religion more than once can receive the death sentence, according to the BBC.

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People are also prosecuted for posting messages that allegedly worsen tensions between Kuwait's Sunni majority and the Shiite minority, the Associated Foreign Press reported. There has been a sharp rise in such cases in recent months. 

But not all sentences are equally harsh. Last week, a Sunni Tweeter who had been sentenced to seven years in prison for posts allegedly insulting Shiites had his sentenced reduced to six months by an appeals court, the AFP reported last week.

Naqi's attorney also plans to appeal. "We plan to challenge the ruling against my client Hamad al-Naqi in the appeals court and we are very optimistic that the higher court will cancel the sentence," he told the AFP

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