KUWAIT CITY (AP) — Kuwait's top court on Sunday sentenced three former opposition lawmakers to 20 months in prison for insulting the Western-backed country's ruler, though they will be allowed to remain free on bail, their lawyer said.
Lawyer Yousif al-Hirbish said the decision overturned an earlier appeals court verdict acquitting the three parliamentarians — Falah al-Sawwagh, Bader al-Dahoum and Khaled al-Tahous. They will be able to avoid prison time by paying 2,000 dinars bail — some $7,000.
The sentence foreshadows what may be the return of political unrest in Kuwait after months of calm. Activist Musallam al-Barrack has called for an opposition rally Tuesday, claiming that he will reveal sensitive information about alleged government corruption.
Al-Hirbish said the three former lawmakers sentenced Sunday would continue to participate in political rallies, though a special committee has yet to decide whether they can run again for public office.
"They believe in their cause, and have announced their participation in a political protest this coming Tuesday," he said.
The three were arrested in 2013 after participating in rallies opposing changes to Kuwait's voting rules made by the ruling emir. The arrests came during a period of an escalating crackdown over perceived political dissent in the small, oil-rich country.
OPEC member Kuwait has the Gulf's most free-wheeling political system, but denouncing the emir is illegal.