Hamad al-Naqi

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Hamad al-Naqi
Born c. 1986
Nationality Kuwaiti
Ethnicity Ajam of Kuwait
Known for imprisonment for provoking sectarian tensions and blasphemy
Religion Shia Muslim

Hamad al-Naqi (born c. 1986[1]) (Arabic: حمد النقي‎) is a Kuwaiti blogger who in June 2012 was sentenced to ten years' imprisonment for charges pertaining to provoking sectarian tensions and blasphemous tweets against the prophet Mohammed.[2]

Criminal charges[edit]

Al-Naqi was arrested on 27 March 2012 and taken to Kuwait Central Prison.[3] After he was stabbed in the neck by another inmate on 19 April, prison officials announced that they were putting al-Naqi in solitary confinement for his own protection.[4][5]

During his trial, prosecutors told the court that his comments "were likely to stoke sedition within the community and mobilize segments alongside sectarian lines",[1] Al-Naqi pled not guilty, contending that he had not posted the messages and that his account had been hacked.[6] A judge found al-Naqi guilty on all charges—"insulting the Prophet, the Prophet's wife and companions, mocking Islam, provoking sectarian tensions, insulting the rulers of Saudi Arabia and Bahrain and misusing his mobile phone to spread the comments"— and on 4 June gave him the maximum prison sentence of ten years.[7] His lawyer stated that al-Naqi intended to appeal.[2]

Al-Naqi, who is a Shi'ite, allegedly used Twitter to criticize the Sunni monarchies of Saudi Arabia and Bahrain, the latter of which was experiencing sectarian tensions during the Arab Spring-inspired Bahraini uprising.[8]

Reactions[edit]

Media commentators described al-Naqi's case as demonstrating "growing tensions between the country's Sunni majority and Shiite minority"[9] and an example of the expanding influence of Kuwait's Islamist movement.[8] Al-Naqi's sentence was protested by Human Rights Watch, which stated that "Kuwaiti authorities clearly violate international rights standards when they punish Hamad al-Naqi for criticizing neighboring monarchs ... This harsh sentence appears designed to intimidate other Kuwaitis from exercising their right to freedom of expression."[5] Amnesty International designated al-Naqi a prisoner of conscience and called for his immediate and unconditional release. A spokeswoman stated that "criticizing religion is a protected form of expression and should not be criminalized ... Nor should individuals be subject to imprisonment for insulting heads of state or other public figures or institutions."[3] The Arabic Network for Human Rights Information denounced the blasphemy charge against al-Naqi as a "cover-up" and an excuse to "gag" political opponents.[10]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Douglas Stanglin (4 June 2012). "Kuwait blogger gets 10 years for insulting prophet Mohammed". USA Today. Retrieved 8 June 2012. 
  2. ^ a b "Kuwait Court Gives 10 Years for Twitter 'Insults'". ABC News. Associated Press. 8 June 2012. Retrieved 8 June 2012. 
  3. ^ a b "Kuwaiti man sentenced to 10 years’ imprisonment for 'insulting' Tweets". Amnesty International. 7 June 2012. Retrieved 8 June 2012. 
  4. ^ Magda Abu-Fadil (7 June 2012). "Kuwaiti Tweeps Jailed for Religious Offenses". Huffington Post. Retrieved 8 June 2012. 
  5. ^ a b "Kuwait: 10 Years for Criticizing Neighboring Rulers". Human Rights Watch. 7 June 2012. Retrieved 8 June 2012. 
  6. ^ "Kuwaiti pleads not guilty at Twitter blasphemy trial". BBC News. 21 May 2012. Retrieved 8 June 2012. 
  7. ^ "Kuwaiti gets 10 years for Twitter blasphemy". Chicago Tribune. Reuters. 4 June 2012. Retrieved 8 June 2012. 
  8. ^ a b Sylvia Westall (4 June 2012). "Kuwaiti gets 10 years for Twitter blasphemy". MSNBC. Reuters. Retrieved 8 June 2012. 
  9. ^ "Ten years for tweets: Kuwaiti man gets jail sentence for 'blasphemous' posts". RT. 5 June 2012. Retrieved 8 June 2012. 
  10. ^ "10 Years Sentence for a Blogger Repression Strucks the Religion Chord as a Cover Up". Arabic Network for Human Rights Information. 5 June 2012. Retrieved 8 June 2012.