Kuwait put five men, three of whom are members of the royal family, in jail on Monday for insulting Kuwait’s ruler and its judiciary on WhatsApp, local media reports from the country have said.
The men were charged with using WhatsApp to insult Kuwait’s emir Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad al-Sabah. They reportedly also accused judges of accepting bribes.
According to the reports, of all the accused, the five were sentenced to five years in jail each, and another was given a one-year jail term by Kuwait’s Criminal Court.
A seventh person was sentenced to 10 years in absentia, while six others were acquitted.
A Reuters report stated that the convicted will appeal their sentences.
Sheikh Athbi Al-Fahd Al-Sabah, a royal family member and the former chief of the State Security Agency, was one of the five convicted.
He is also the brother of former energy minister Sheikh Ahmad Al-Fahad Al-Sabah, who also holds posts at the Olympic Council of Asia and the International Olympic Committee.
Kuwait royals have not been immune to legal action for such infringements in the past. In late 2015, Sheikh Ahmad Al-Fahad Al-Sabah was given a suspended six-month prison sentence and fined KD1,000 for allegedly “insulting the judiciary”.
Local media reported then that he had apologized to the Emir, but denied any wrongdoing on his part and called the prison sentence a motivated personal action against him, without naming anyone.