A blogger in Kuwait jailed on charges of insulting Saudi Arabia has had his sentence increased to six years. Salah Al Saeed was jailed in December for four years after he posted remarks on his Twitter account deemed offensive by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
The Court of Appeals said that the blogger posted “antagonistic tweets with clear words and obvious significance that offended the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.” The tweets are likely to affect the existing relationship between Saudi Arabia and Kuwait since the blogger attacked the Saudi kingdom and its judiciary system and abused its foreign minister in a mocking manner, the court added, Kuwaiti media reported on Thursday.
Kuwait has repeatedly warned that it would not tolerate any abuses of neighbouring countries that could endanger its relation with them. In January, bloggers were detained for posting comments abusive of the late Saudi king Abdullah Bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud on their Twitter accounts.
The public prosecution had ordered the arrests following a complaint by the interior ministry, reports in Kuwait said. The bloggers face the charge of engaging in an act of animosity against Saudi Arabia through abusing its rulers in a manner that may impact Kuwait’s political relations.
King Abdullah died in the first hour of January 23 and news of his death triggered an avalanche of messages of sympathy and praise and condolences by social media users went viral on the Internet. However, some bloggers posted remarks that were deemed offensive to the late monarch and to his country.
A report in Kuwaiti daily Al Qabas said that 11 people had been arrested over their anti-King Abdullah tweets. Citing a security source it did not name, the report said that foreigners were among those arrested.
It added that the Kuwaiti nationals would face legal measures and that the foreigners would be deported amid the campaign of zero tolerance towards any abuses of neighbouring countries.