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Iranian embassy in Kuwait sues 11 columnists
March 23, 2015, 2:16 pm
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The Iranian embassy in Kuwait has reportedly filed complaints against 11 columnists over viewpoint articles they published in Kuwaiti dailies. In its complaints, the embassy wanted the public prosecution to look into 30 articles in which the columnists addressed topics related to Iran, a local daily reported on Monday, citing “well-informed” sources. The embassy said that the columnists broke the Kuwaiti publication law.

According to the sources, the public prosecution has started its investigation in the case considered as the largest of its kind in the country as it involves 11 columnists.

“The prosecution has contacted the newspapers that published the opinions and views of the columnists,” the sources said. “Some of them live in Kuwait, but others live in Iraq and Britain. There are also Iranian columnists who do not live in Iran,” the sources added.

Last week, the public prosecution summoned Kuwaiti columnist Ahmad Al Sarraf after the Iranian filed a formal complaint to protest against his viewpoint article that it considered offensive to Tehran.

The complaint was relayed by the Kuwaiti foreign ministry and the public prosecution applied the law by launching an investigation, sources told a local newspaper.

“The law stipulates a jail sentence of up to three years for anyone who, without the permission of the Kuwaiti government, engages in an antagonistic act against a foreign country that could harm bilateral political relations,” the sources added.

The prosecution questions all defendants, whether they are columnists, politicians or bloggers, and allows them to go home on bail until the decision to refer the case to the court or to dismiss it, is taken, the sources said.

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 ordered the arrests following a complaint by the interior ministry. 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. Last month, a blogger 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.

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