KUWAIT CITY, Jan 19, (AFP): Kuwait’s court of appeals on Thursday upheld a five-year jail term for five men including three members of the Al-Sabah ruling family for insulting top judges online.
The court also confirmed a one-year jail term against a sixth man and upheld the acquittal of six others. The royals include Sheikh Athbi Al-Fahad Al-Sabah, a nephew of the Amir and the former head of the secret service police. He is also the younger brother of international sports figure Sheikh Ahmad al-Fahad Al-Sabah, who is president of the Olympic Council of Asia and a member of the International Olympic Committee.
They were among 13 people charged with posting on Twitter and WhatsApp fake footage showing a judge accepting a bribe from an aide to ex-premier Sheikh Nasser Mohammad Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah. The defendants — most of whom were jailed for a week in June before being released on bail — were also convicted of spreading lies about the integrity of top judges.
The judges include the current and former chiefs of the supreme judicial council, the highest judicial authority in the oil-rich Gulf state. Also convicted was Sheikh Khalifa Ali Al-Sabah, the editor of Al-Watan newspaper and television which authorities shut down for violating corporate finance rules in a decision ratified by the courts.
Thursday’s rulings are not final as can still be challenged in the supreme court. The 13th defendant, who allegedly posted online the footage, was sentenced to 10 years in jail by a lower court but the appeals court did not examine his case on Thursday as he is on the run