Rashid Saleh al-Anzi gets two years in prison for Twitter insult

Rashid Saleh al-Anzi insulted the ruler of Kuwait on Twitter. Rashid Saleh al-Anzi, who has 5,700 Twitter followers, was sentenced to two years in prison.

REUTERS/Stephanie Mcgehee
Emir Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad al-Sabah waves as he enters the Kuwait Parliament in Kuwait City last month. For insulting the Emir on Twitter, Rashid Saleh al-Anzi was sentenced to two years in prison.

A Kuwaiti court sentenced a man to two years in prison for insulting the country's ruler on Twitter, a lawyer following the case said, as the Gulf Arab state cracks down on criticism of the authorities on social media.

According to the verdict on Sunday, published by online newspaper Alaan, a tweet written by Rashid Saleh al-Anzi in October "stabbed the rights and powers of the Emir" Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad al-Sabah.

Anzi, who has 5,700 Twitter followers, was expected to appeal, the lawyer, who asked not to be named, told Reuters.

Kuwait, a U.S. ally and major oil producer, has been taking a firmer line on politically sensitive comments aired on the Internet.

In June 2012, a man was sentenced to 10 years in prison after he was convicted of endangering state security by insulting the Prophet Mohammad and the Sunni Muslim rulers of Saudi Arabia and Bahrain on social media.

Two months later, authorities detained Sheikh Meshaal al-Malik Al-Sabah, a member of the ruling family, over remarks on Twitter in which he accused authorities of corruption and called for political reform, a rights activist said.

While public demonstrations about local issues are common in a state that allows the most dissent in the Gulf, Kuwait has avoided Arab Spring-style mass unrest that toppled three veteran Arab dictators last year.

But tensions have intensified between the hand-picked government, in which ruling family members hold the top posts, and the elected parliament and opposition groups.

(Editing by Jason Webb)

You've read  of  free articles. Subscribe to continue.

Dear Reader,

About a year ago, I happened upon this statement about the Monitor in the Harvard Business Review – under the charming heading of “do things that don’t interest you”:

“Many things that end up” being meaningful, writes social scientist Joseph Grenny, “have come from conference workshops, articles, or online videos that began as a chore and ended with an insight. My work in Kenya, for example, was heavily influenced by a Christian Science Monitor article I had forced myself to read 10 years earlier. Sometimes, we call things ‘boring’ simply because they lie outside the box we are currently in.”

If you were to come up with a punchline to a joke about the Monitor, that would probably be it. We’re seen as being global, fair, insightful, and perhaps a bit too earnest. We’re the bran muffin of journalism.

But you know what? We change lives. And I’m going to argue that we change lives precisely because we force open that too-small box that most human beings think they live in.

The Monitor is a peculiar little publication that’s hard for the world to figure out. We’re run by a church, but we’re not only for church members and we’re not about converting people. We’re known as being fair even as the world becomes as polarized as at any time since the newspaper’s founding in 1908.

We have a mission beyond circulation, we want to bridge divides. We’re about kicking down the door of thought everywhere and saying, “You are bigger and more capable than you realize. And we can prove it.”

If you’re looking for bran muffin journalism, you can subscribe to the Monitor for $15. You’ll get the Monitor Weekly magazine, the Monitor Daily email, and unlimited access to CSMonitor.com.