Three members of the Kuwaiti royal family will spend five years behind bars after an appeal against their conviction for spreading false news and rumours via social media failed.
Members of the so-called ‘Fintas Group’ include Sheikh Athbi Al Fahd Al Sabah, Sheikh Ahmad Al Dawood Al Sabah and Sheikh Khalifa Al Ali Al Sabah, according to a local Kuwaiti daily.
The trio had their sentences confirmed on Monday, along with two others. Another man, Hamad Al Haroun, was sentenced to 10 years in jail.
The original convictions were handed down in Kuwaiti court in May. The men were found guilty of faking and publishing a clip on social media and YouTube that claimed that a senior judge, Yousuf Al Mutawa, had received bribes.
A number of other suspects were found not guilty of insulting Kuwait’s Amir via WhatsApp.
Kuwait has one of the most open political systems in the Gulf and elected lawmakers and media commentators often attack the government and senior ruling family members over policy.
But the Amir has the final say in political matters and criticising him is forbidden. Dozens of Kuwaitis have been jailed for comments made in public and online that the courts deemed insulting.
It is not the first time that ruling family members have been prosecuted for sensitive remarks. Sheikh Ahmad al-Fahad was given a suspended prison sentence and a fine in December 2015 for quoting remarks by the Amir without permission.
In 2012 police released a ruling family member after holding him for several days over remarks on Twitter in which he accused the authorities of corruption and called for political reforms.
Source: Arabian Business