Controversial Kuwaiti lawmaker acquitted in latest insult case

Controversial Kuwaiti lawmaker acquitted in latest insult case
Abdul Hamid Dashti, who faces a dozen 'insult' cases for opinions shared on social media, was acquitted by Kuwaiti courts in the latest case on Thursday.
2 min read
29 September, 2016

Kuwaiti courts acquitted Shia lawmaker Abdul Hamid Dashti in a new case filed against him for insulting Saudi Arabia.

The criminal court ruled the MP had merely expressed opinions and failed to carry out an action, nulling Article Four of the State Security Law applied to cases where individuals are accused of causing hostility with other nations.

The verdict was announced in absentia and was the latest case against the controversial lawmaker who has faced Kuwaiti courts for messages shared on social media in recent months.

Last week, Dashti was sentenced to 11 years' jail in absentia for insults against the emirate's ruler and its ally Saudi Arabia.

The verdict, announced in a court statement, comes two months after he was sentenced to 14 years and six months for a similar offence.

Dashti has been living abroad for several months, after leaving Kuwait in March to seek medical treatment in the UK.

Dashti was also convicted in July of endangering ties with Bahrain and Saudi Arabia, and for calling on people to join the Hizballah.

Dashti confirmed the court ruling on Twitter, saying he expects more sentences that could amount to a century of jail time as he is facing about a dozen similar cases.

Dashti is a staunch supporter of Iran and Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and a critic of the royal families of both Saudi Arabia and Bahrain.

He denounced as an "invasion" the 2011 Saudi military intervention in Bahrain to support the government against Shia-led protests.

There are nine Shia lawmakers in Kuwait's 50-seat parliament, and the religious minority comprises about 30 percent of the country's native population of 1.3 million.

In Kuwait, criticism of Emir Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad al-Sabah can result in charges of insulting him. Dozens of opposition activists have been jailed for this offence in the past few years.