Kuwait: Blogger Salman Al-Khalidi sentenced to prison for five years


The Gulf Centre for Human Rights (GCHR) strongly condemns a new five-year prison sentence issued in Kuwait against blogger Salman Al-Khalidi due to his peaceful activities on his personal Twitter account.

On 15 May 2023, the Criminal Court in Kuwait issued a five-year prison sentence with hard labour against Al-Khalidi after convicting him of charges that included allegedly using his Twitter account to “intentionally spread false and malicious rumours abroad about the country’s internal conditions, publishing what would harm relations of Kuwait with other countries,” and the misuse of a telephone to carry out these activities, according to the text of the court’s verdict, a copy of which was seen by GCHR.

The Preventive Security Department of the Ministry of the Interior filed a complaint against him due to the use of his Twitter account to express his personal opinions and defend prisoners of conscience, in addition to his work as a founding member of the Kuwaiti Refugee Association, which was established in August 2022.Its activities are based in the United Kingdom.

Al-Khalidi, 23 years old, is a Kuwaiti youth who was studying in Qatar when, on 06 June 2022, he was sentenced in absentia in Kuwait to five years imprisonment with hard labour after being convicted of committing a “hostile act” against Saudi Arabia. That ruling is related to a series of tweets he published on 25 March 2022 about the role of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in the case of the murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi at the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul on 02 October 2018.

After this judgment was issued in absentia, he was forced to travel to the United Kingdom, where he arrived on 21 May 2022, and submitted his papers to obtain political asylum.

On 18 January 2023, he was included in a pardon issued by the Emir of Kuwait, which meant that he no longer had to serve the sentence handed down by the court in the first judgment issued against him in absentia.

GCHR strongly condemns the new five-year prison sentence issued against blogger Salman Al-Khalidi, which is solely related to his legitimate right to freedom of expression on the Internet and the freedom to belong to and work in civil society organisations, and calls for the abolition of this unfair sentence and the dropping of all false and fabricated charges against him.

GCHR calls on the competent British authorities to provide Al-Khalidi with full protection and grant him political asylum as soon as possible.