Kuwaiti woman jailed for 'insulting' emir tweets

Kuwaiti Emir Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad al-Sabah attends the opening of the 19th Arab Inter-Parliamentary Union conference in Kuwait City on 9 April  2013 Kuwait has punished several Twitter users in recent months for insulting Sheikh Sabah al-Sabah

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A Kuwaiti court has sentenced a woman to 11 years in jail for insulting the emir and calling for regime change on social networking site Twitter.

Huda al-Ajmi, a 37-year-old teacher, has been also convicted of misusing her mobile phone.

She can appeal against the sentence.

Kuwait has punished several Twitter users in recent months for insulting its ruler, Sheikh Sabah al-Sabah, who is described as "immune and inviolable" in the constitution.

In May, an appeals court overturned a five-year sentence for prominent opposition figure Mussallam al-Barrak who was convicted of "undermining" the ruling emir, says his defence lawyer.

The former MP was arrested over remarks he made at a rally in October, urging the emir to avoid "autocratic" rule in Kuwait. Mr Barrak was handed the sentence in April, but later freed on bail.

His trial prompted angry protests and clashes between activists and police.

There has been a recent clampdown in Kuwait, with activists and MPs being charged with insulting the emir through comments posted on social networking sites such as Twitter.

While Kuwait has not seen the same scale of pro-democracy uprisings as in other Arab states, there has been growing tension between former MPs and the government, which is dominated by the Sabah family.

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