A Sunni Muslim has been condemned to 7 years in prison and to a $18,000 fine for insulting the Shi'ite Muslim minority on the micro-blogging site Twitter.
The Kuwaiti court said Mohammad al-Mulaifi “posted falsehoods about sectarian divisions in the Gulf Arab country and insulted the Shi'ite faith and its scholars with comments that damaged Kuwait's image,” Reuters report.
Al-Mulaifi was arrested last February. Shi'ites reportedly protested after al-Mulaifi’s comments were made public, Kuwaiti media say.
This is not the first time a Kuwaiti Twitter user is condemned to a prison sentence for comments expressed on the social network.
Late March Kuwaiti authorities arrested a man for insulting the Prophet Mohammad on the public messaging site. The man “defamed the Islamic faith and slandered the Prophet Mohammad, his companions and his wife” the ministry said in a statement quoted by Reuters. It also said it "regretted the abusing of social networks by some individuals to offend basic Islamic and spiritual values, vowing to show zero tolerance in combating such serious offences”. The man denied having defamed the prophet saying he would never do such thing and claimed his account must have been hacked.
Although the utterance of blasphemous matter is not punishable by death in Kuwait, it is prohibited under the 1961 press and publication law.
Tensions between the two Muslim communities in Kuwait have flared in Kuwait. Shi'ite Muslims constitute about a third of the native population of 1.17 million.