Target: Jaber Al-Mubarak Al-Hamad Al-Sabah, Prime Minister of Kuwait
Goal: Release blogger who was sentenced to 10 years in prison for criticizing state leadership.
Hamad al-Naqi of Kuwait has been sentenced to ten years in prison for comments deemed to be critical of the state. The blogger made comments on his Twitter feed that questioned neighboring states’ policies, and was accused of negatively affecting political relations, among other charges. Recently, an appeal challenging the sentence was overturned, leaving al-Naqi to serve his full sentence.
The political blogger made observations about the minimum three-year sentence for any member of the media who broadcast news or statements contrary to the interest of the states, imposed by neighboring Bahrain and Saudi Arabia. He was charged with insulting neighboring leaders, provoking sectarian tensions, insulting the prophet Mohammad, and misusing a mobile device to disseminate questionable comments.
al-Naqi is only one of many critics of the government that have been imprisoned for similar comments in Kuwait. Since a political crisis in summer of 2012, the Kuwaiti government has increasingly been abridging the rights of its citizens. Dozens of the country’s journalists, activists, and politicians have been arrested and imprisoned for “offending the leader,” after making statements contrary to the opinions of authorities.
Kuwait, as a member of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the Arab Charter on Human Rights, is required to uphold the rights of freedom of opinion and freedom of expression. Imprisonment for criticism of state institutions and officials is a clear breach of these rights, while an open discourse on current events and state politics is essential to improving human rights issues. Your signature will demand that Hamad al-Naqi be released immediately, and that all charges relating to his peaceful criticism be dropped.
Dear Prime Minister Jaber Al-Mubarak Al-Hamad Al-Sabah,
Hamad al-Naqi is currently serving a ten year sentence in prison for making comments critical of leadership on his Twitter feed. The political blogger made comments on Bahrain and Saudi Arabia’s minimum three-year sentences for journalists who publish news contrary to the interest of government institutions or authorities. He was arrested and charged with insulting the leaders of neighboring states, as well as insulting the prophet Mohammad, provoking sectarian tensions, and misusing a mobile phone.
As a signed participant in the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the Arab Charter on Human Rights, Kuwait is required to defend the rights of freedom of speech and freedom of opinion. In keeping with these values, it is only appropriate that al-Naqi and all other state critics be released from prison immediately. I ask that he and other journalists, politicians, and activists imprisoned on similar charged be pardoned of their crimes.
[Your Name Here]
Photo Credit: Ken Mayer via Creative Commons