Blogger Hamad Al-Naqi Imprisoned
PEN International is deeply concerned about the 10-year prison sentence handed down to Kuwaiti blogger Hamad al-Naqi on June 4, 2012, for allegedly insulting the prophet Muhammad and the rulers of Bahrain and Saudi Arabia. PEN believes that he is being targeted solely for the peaceful exercise of his right to freedom of expression as guaranteed by Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which Kuwait is a party, and calls for his immediate and unconditional release. PEN also calls upon the authorities to take all necessary steps to guarantee his safety and protection while in detention.
According to PEN’s information, on June 4, 2012, a criminal court in the capital Kuwait City sentenced Hamad al-Naqi to 10 years in prison for “insulting the prophet Muhammad” and insulting the rulers of Bahrain and Saudi Arabia in a comment he wrote on his blog.
He was arrested on March 27, 2012, on charges of insulting the Prophet Muhammad, his wives and companions, harming the interests of the country by allegedly mocking the rulers of two countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), and publishing false news abroad via Twitter on his mobile phone.
Al-Naqi denied all charges and stated that his Twitter account had been hacked. His mobile records were searched and it was confirmed that he did not use Twitter from the mobile. However, security forces claimed that he has another mobile in his possession which he had used to access a Twitter account.
According to his lawyer, the 10-year sentence is the maximum penalty prescribed by law in these cases. He added that the al-Naqi’s confessions should have not been considered as they were extracted forcibly under torture.
On April 18, 2012, al-Naqi was stabbed in the neck inside the Kuwait Central prison by another prisoner who had apparently objected to what al-Naqi had written. According to al-Naqi’s lawyer, the incident took place after the prison’s administration spread the news that al-Naqi had insulted the Prophet.
In the past year, Kuwait has had the highest rate of imprisonments in cases of free expression in the Arab world, notably the cases of Lawrence al-Rasheed who was sentenced to 10 years for insulting the Emir of Kuwait in a poem, and Mohamed el-Melify, who was sentenced to seven years in prison for spreading false statements via Twitter.
Write A Letter
- Protesting the detention of blogger Hamad al-Naqi solely for the peaceful exercise of his right to free expression;
- Calling for his immediate and unconditional release in accordance with Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), to which Kuwait is a signatory;
- Expressing grave concerns for the safety of blogger Hamad al-Naqi following reports that he was attacked in prison;
- Seeking guarantees that he will be protected while in detention as a matter of urgency, in accordance with Article 10 of the ICCPR.
Send Your Letter To
Emir of the State of Kuwait
His Highness Sheikh Jaber al-Ahmed al-Sabah
Fax: +965 539 3069
Minister of Justice
His Excellency Ahmed al-Baqir
Fax: +965 243 3750
Minister of Interior
His Excellency Chieck Ahmad Al-Hammoud
Ministry of Interior
P.O. Box 12500
Fax: +965 243 6570
Please also send appeals to the diplomatic representative for Kuwait in your country if possible.