Kuwaiti Man’s Tweets Get 7-Year Sentence, $18,000 FineBy: Drew Bowling - April 10, 2012
If you’re a regular Twitter user, you’ve likely come across some inflammatory if not outright insulting tweets in your time. Some may be legitimate, some may be over the line – you may have even sent some of said tweets. However, depending on your culture, be careful how you use your 140 characters because in some regions of the world that could land you a heavy penalty.
Take one Kuwaiti man’s experience: after being found guilty of insulting Kuwait’s Shi’ite Muslim minority on the micro-blogging site, he’s been sentenced to 7 years and prison and ordered to pay $18,000 in compensation.
Kuwait’s government hasn’t been shy about doling out punishments to people posting controversial tweets. Last month, a man was arrested for allegedly insulting the Muslim prophet Mohammad on his Twitter account, but he claims that it wasn’t his words and that his account had been hacked. Still, his tweets prompted several protesters to condemn the man and demand that he be executed.
The man accused of insulting the Shi’ites, Mohammad al-Mulaifi, was arrested in February. He’s been convicted of spreading falsehoods about sectarian divisions in Kuwait, insulting the Shi’ite faith and its scholars, and for damaging Kuwait’s image in the region.
According to The Next Web, al-Mulaifi has apologized to the Shi’ites and claimed that his words were misunderstood. He defended himself by saying that he didn’t intend to insult Islam or his family, though that defense appears to not have worked out so well for him. In addition to the prison sentence and monetary fine, he’s also been sentenced to hard labor and may even have his Kuwaiti citizenship revoked.[Via Yahoo! News.]