Kuwait sentences political activist for ‘insulting’ emir

Thursday, May 23, 2024

KUWAIT CITY: A Kuwaiti court on Wednesday sentenced to four years in jail a political activist for criticising the ruling family while campaigning for parliamentary elections this year, his representatives said.

There was no official confirmation from the Gulf state of the ruling against Musaed Al- Quraifah.

But, in a statement on social media platform X, Quraifah´s media office said he was sentenced to four years in prison, making it the first such ruling since Sheikh Meshal al-Ahmad al-Sabah dissolved parliament and assumed some of its powers this month.

Mohammed Menwer, a lawyer on Quraifah´s defence team, criticised the sentence, saying Quraifah was “innocent of the charges brought against him”.

In a statement on X, Menwer said Quraifah was “being tried based on an interpretation of the intentions that were inferred from his words, not for a crime he committed explicitly... with premeditated criminal intent.”

The activist was arrested on April 23, triggering a solidarity rally the next day to demand his release. At the time, Kuwait´s public prosecution said it had ordered “the provisional detention of a citizen on charges of insulting the seat of the emir during a gathering held at his electoral headquarters when he ran for the 2024 parliamentary elections”, without mentioning his identity. The comments captured on video and circulated widely on social media were made during a March meeting, during which Quraifah criticised the ruling family´s tight grip on political life.