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Mon 16 Jun 2014 12:24 PM

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Kuwaiti student's 2yr jail term upheld for insulting Emir on Twitter

Activist will serve term with no appeals left, while three other cases heard on Sunday remain ongoing

Kuwaiti student's 2yr jail term upheld for insulting Emir on Twitter

A two-year jail sentence has been upheld for a Kuwaiti online activist who wrote tweets deemed offensive to the Gulf state’s ruler, according to AFP.

The supreme court’s decision on Sunday coincided with the release of another activist who, in a separate case, has claimed hackers were responsible for comments posted on his Twitter account that offended Gulf state monarchies and expressed support of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).

Following the decision to uphold his jail sentence, Hejab Al Hajeri, a law student in his early 20s, said on his Twitter account his "determination is bigger than their jail".

He had been sentenced in April last year after the court deemed that comments he made on his Twitter social network account were critical of the emir, AFP said.

The activist, who has been out on bail, has no other avenues of appeal and must now serve the jail term.

Meanwhile, Hakim Al Mutairi claimed his Twitter account had been hacked and denied posting potentially incriminating comments, Kuwait Times reported.

He had been held in custody while authorities verified whether his account had been hacked but he was released on Sunday, as investigations continued.

Mutairi is the president of the Hezbol Ummah (Nation’s Party), an Islamic conservative political party that is not recognised in Kuwait, where political parties are banned.

Bedouin activist Abdullah Atta, who is being tried for offending the Emir and instigating civil disobedience, also was released from custody on Sunday.

In a fourth case, the appeals court also reportedly adjourned the trial of former MP Musallam Al Barrak, who is accused of offending the Emir during a public rally last week.

Kuwaiti courts have increasingly convicted and jailed opponents to the ruling family who publish Twitter comments that allegedly insult the Emir, who has pardoned a few of them. Many more are on trial facing similar charges.

Criticising the emir is illegal under the law and carries a jail term of up to five years.

Oil-rich Kuwait has been rocked by ongoing political disputes since mid-2006 that have stalled development despite abundant budget surpluses.

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