We’ve already told you that Kuwaiti officials arrested a man for allegedly sending disparaging Prophet Mohammad tweets earlier this year. Following the initial detainment for his “crime” in March, Hamad al-Naqi, the man at the center of the controversy, is slated to spend 10 years behind bars.
The harsh sentencing comes after al-Naqi was found guilty of endangering state security as a result of sending his controversial anti-Mohammad social media messages. In addition to posting tweets against the holy figure, he also purportedly went after leaders in Saudi Arabia and Iran, commenting about them on Twitter as well. How his actions constitute an endangerment of national security – well, that hasn’t quite been explained.
Since the case commenced, al-Naqi has maintained his innocence. Back in March, he has claimed that his account was hacked and that he was not the individual who sent the messages in question. He has also said that attacking the “Holy Prophet” is not something he would ever do.
Some Sunni activists, according to the BBC, felt that al-Naqi, a Shia Muslim, should be put to death for his actions. Recently, Kuwait’s parliament endorsed a law that would give anyone the death penalty who insults Mohammad and subsequently refuses to apologize. While it hasn’t yet been signed into law, this particular crime occurred before its endorsement, thus it wouldn’t apply. The BBC continues, with more on the disturbing case:
Mr Naqi’s lawyer, Khaled al-Shatti, said the death penalty could not be applied in this case because the alleged crime had taken place before the change in legislation. [...]
After his client was found guilty on Monday, Mr Shatti said: “The prison sentence is long but we have the chance to appeal.”
He also said that even if Mr Naqi had written the offending tweets, he should only have been guilty only of a “crime of opinion”, not of threatening national security, which carried the 10-year prison term.
It will be interesting to see if this extremely radical death penalty law makes its way onto the books. If al-Naqi’s case is any indication, though, it seems — regardless of whether it passes — that harsh penalties are in order for anyone in Kuwait who disparages Islam.