Kuwait sentences blogger Abdullah al-Saleh to 5 years for 'insulting' UAE

Kuwait sentences blogger Abdullah al-Saleh to 5 years for 'insulting' UAE
Social media figure Abdullah al-Saleh has been sentenced to an extra five years in prison after criticising the UAE's role in the region.
2 min read
05 February, 2018
Kuwait has piled a 31-year sentence on blogger Abdullah al-Saleh [Twitter]

A blogger was sentenced to five years in prison over “insulting” the United Arab Emirates in a post over the weekend.

Blogger, Abdullah al-Saleh was sentenced to five years for criticising the UAE and its increasingly abrasive role in the region.

Along with other sentences, al-Saleh’s prison time has piled up to 31 years in prison.

His recent sentencing comes a month after he was sentenced, for also five years, after criticising Saudi Arabia, and the Riyadh-led boycott of Qatar.

Al-Saleh is a vocal social media critic of the Riyadh and Abu Dhabi regimes, saying recently if it wasn’t for the strength of the Kuwaiti Dinar, Saudi Arabia would have intervened in Kuwait the way it intervened in Bahrain.

Kuwaiti newspaper Al-Qabas said al-Saleh has filed an asylum request to the United Kingdom, and claimed he does not want to return to Kuwait.

“I have been sentenced to five years for insulting Saudi Arabia -  the reason is my support for the just Qatar!” Al-Saleh tweeted to his 98,000 followers on Twitter.

“I do not regret the tweets or videos - this is my right! I will continue to support the oppressed and I will not return to Kuwait to implement the sentence,” he added.

'Violation of basic rights'

"The court judgement of Dr Abdullah al-Salah is in clear violation to basic rights around freedom of speech and assembly," said rights group ICFUAE in a statement.

"The suppression of online dissenters is a practice that has also become increasingly commonplace in the UAE. In recent years, scores of bloggers and online activists have been forcefully disappeared, arbitrarily detained, and in many cases tortured, for comments made on social media platforms that the Emirati authorities have deemed critical of the state."

On 5 June, Saudi Arabia, UAE, Bahrain and Egypt severed diplomatic and economic ties with gas-rich Qatar, accusing it of links to extremist groups.

Saudi Arabia then issued Qatar with a list of demands, including shutting down media outlets Al Jazeera and London-based The New Arab, curbing relations with Iran, and closing a Turkish military base in the emirate.

Doha denies the allegations and instead accused the Saudi-led bloc of aiming to incite regime change in Doha.