A Kuwaiti court sentenced a Sunni Islamist activist to three years in jail on Tuesday for posting remarks deemed derogatory to Shiites on his Twitter account.
Mubarak Al Bathali, who was jailed for six months in 2011 on similar charges, was sentenced after the court found enough evidence that his tweets constituted an insult to the faith of minority Shiites and undermined national unity, a copy of the ruling said.
The sentence was confirmed by Al Bathali on his Twitter account and was criticised as harsh by online activists.
The ruling was based on a 2013 law setting tough jail terms for people convicted of threatening national unity.
Lawyer Ali Al Ali, who filed the suit against Al Bathali, said that several months ago, the activist wrote tweets deemed insulting to Prophet Mohammad’s (PBUH) daughter Fatima.
Fatima is revered among both Shiites and Sunnis, and Al Bathali’s remark poked fun at Shiite narratives about her.
The verdict could be appealed, but Al Bathali has to start serving the sentence immediately according to the ruling.
Kuwait issued the national unity law last year amid rising sectarian tension in the emirate where Shiites form around a third of the 1.25 million citizen population.
Over the past few years, Kuwaiti courts passed dozens of jail sentences against online activists for religious offences and those critical to the emir.