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Kuwait royal jailed for three years for 'insulting' ruler

Criticism of Emir Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad al-Sabah can result in charges of insulting him [AFP]

Date of publication: 20 September, 2016

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Sheikh Abdullah Salem al-Sabah has been sentenced to three years imprisonment on charges of insulting the Gulf state's ruler and other royals in videos posted on Snapchat.

A member of Kuwait's ruling family was sentenced to three years imprisonment by a Kuwaiti court on Tuesday on charges of insulting the Gulf state's ruler and other royals.

Sheikh Abdullah Salem Al-Sabah, grandson of the emir's late half-brother, Sheikh Abdullah al-Ahmad Al-Sabah, had posted video messages on Snapchat early last year in which he strongly criticised the functioning of the government.

Sheikh Abdullah singled out several members of the al-Sabah family - who hold all principal cabinet posts.

The court ordered he pay $16,500 in damages to one of his targets, though he can still appeal his conviction.

It is not his first run-in with the Kuwaiti authorities

In 2012, Sheikh Abdullah was questioned for posting comments on Twitter deemed sympathetic to the opposition and critical of the emir.

In June last year, he was detained for 10 days for interrogation over criticising the emir.

The following month, a court acquitted him in a similar case.

In Kuwait, any criticism of Emir Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad al-Sabah can result in charges. Dozens of opposition activists have been jailed for the offence in recent years.

Among those is prominent opposition leader and former MP Mussallam al-Barrak, who is serving a two-year term for comments he made at a public rally.

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