Kuwait: Huda al-Ajmi's tweets result in longest jail sentence for online dissent


Kuwaiti opposition supporters block a major road in Kuwait City on November 30, 2012, during a demonstration against a decision by Emir Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad al-Sabah to amend the electoral law. The regime has been harsher on activists lately, and has begun jailing outspoken Twitter users and internet activists.



A 37-year-old schoolteacher in Kuwait was handed an 11-year sentence for allegedly insulting the emir on Twitter, reported Al Jazeera.

Huda al-Ajmi's sentence was reportedly the longest ever for online opposition activity. 

A Kuwaiti court found Ajmi guilty of insulting Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad al-Sabah, the nation's ruler who is held up as "immune and inviolable" in the constitution, according to Reuters.

She was also found guilty of trying to overthrow the regime, among other charges, said Al Jazeera, citing court materials.

One unidentified source close to the case told Reuters: "This is the highest sentence of its kind in these kinds of cases."

Ajmi has not been jailed yet and can still appeal the verdict, reported Reuters.

Kuwait's authorities have become increasingly wary of any anti-emir activity in the Gulf nation.

Reporters Without Borders criticized the regime in April over a restrictive new media law that would fine journalists the equivalent of over a million dollars for any criticism or misquoting of the nation's leader.

The vote on the controversial law was delayed in May, said the Guardian. New York-based rights group Human Rights Watch welcomed the delay, pointing out that it came "during a crackdown on free speech," with slew of prosecutions on charges of "insulting the emir."

The content of Ajmi's tweets which were deemed offensive was not clear.