Kuwait's ruler issued a pardon today [July 30] for those who insulted him – many of whom were sentenced for attacking him online. Netizens comment on Sheikh Sabah Al Ahmed Al Sabah's gesture.
On Twitter, many welcomed the move while others were skeptical and argued those convicted and imprisoned, one up to 11 years, were exercising their freedom of speech. Under Kuwaiti law, lese majeste is prohibited as the Emir's stance “cannot be violated.”
Majid Jaber Al Enzi welcomed the move, saying [ar]:
أظن بعد صدور العفو الأميري وجب على الجميع تناسي كثيراً من الماضي لنبدأ صفحة إصلاحية هادئة من خلال النصح والحوار #شكراً_سمو_الأمير
— ماجد جابر العنزي (@majedalenzi) July 30, 2013
I believe that after the Emir's pardon, everyone should forget a lot of the past and turn a fresh leaf, which should be calm through advice and dialogue
Tariq Al Kindari adds:
بعد العفو الأميري عن الشباب المسجونين اتمنى أن نجد مبادرة سياسية للمصالحة الوطنية بأصلاح النظام السياسي والانتخابي وعودة الأمور الى نصابها
— طارق الكندري (@tariqkw) July 30, 2013
After the Emir's pardon of the imprisoned youth, I hope a political initiative for national reconciliation, political reform and the return of what was follows
And Dr Hussain bin Hadba tweets:
أتمنى أن يقضي العفو الأميري الليلة على ثقافة التطاول والتعدي على ولاة الأمر من غير داع، وأن نبتعد عن تصفية الحسابات بالشتم والسباب.
— د. حسين بن هدبه (@Dralhadba) July 30, 2013
I hope today's pardon puts an end to the culture of insulting the rulers for no reason and we avoid settling scores through insults and bad mouthing
In return, Musaed Al Musaylem tweets:
— مساعد المسيليم (@alshbhat) July 30, 2013
They have not committed anything wrong to be pardoned
Khaled Al Barrak adds:
— خــالــد الــبــراكـ (@K_albarrak) July 30, 2013
The youth have not committed anything wrong for them to be pardoned or for them to apologise. If there is anyone who should apologise, then it is the authorities who have trespassed on the constitution
And Khaled Al Tawari responds:
المعترض على #العفو_الأميري ترى الموضوع سهل قول مثل ماقالوا وانسجن وارفض اي عفو خلك قول وفعل وصاحب مبدأ يا شجاعة ١٤٠ حرف شجاعة آخر زمن
— خالد الطواري (@K_altawari) July 30, 2013
There is an easy solution for those of you against the pardon. Do what they did and get jailed, and then refuse the pardon. Be courageous and hang on to your values and the 140-character courage!
Many of those pardoned [10 according to reports] were jailed because of tweets in which they reportedly insulted the Emir. Last month, a female Kuwaiti teacher was sentenced to 11 years in prison for insulting the Emir on Twitter, among other charges. It is not clear if the teacher was among those pardoned.
According to Human Rights Watch, at least 35 prosecutions have been made in Kuwait against citizens, including online activists, for insulting the Emir since October 2012.