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Jul 27, 12:38 PM EDT

Kuwait Shiite lawmaker sentenced to jail for Saudi 'insults'



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Kuwait Shiite lawmaker sentenced to jail for Saudi 'insults'

KUWAIT CITY (AP) -- A criminal court in Kuwait on Wednesday sentenced an outspoken Shiite lawmaker to more than 14 years in prison for insulting the governments of Saudi Arabia and Bahrain, said the lawyer who filed the case.

Duaim al-Mouaizri, the lawyer who brought the lawsuit against parliament member Abudlhamid Dashti, told The Associated Press the lawmaker was sentenced to 11 years and six months in prison for insulting the Saudi royal family, criticizing religion and insulting the judiciary. He was sentenced to an additional three years in prison for insulting the Bahraini government.

Dashti was tried in absentia. He was stripped of his parliamentary immunity in March, a month after Saudi Arabia's ambassador to Kuwait submitted an official complaint to Kuwait's Foreign Ministry against Dashti.

In numerous television interviews, Dashti had criticized the Saudi leadership's policy of supporting Sunni groups in Syria and accused the kingdom of exporting extremist ideology.

Dashti also spoke out on Twitter in support of Shiite-led protests in Bahrain demanding greater rights from the island-nation's Sunni-led monarchy. Bahrain's mass street protests were put down in 2011 with the help of Saudi and Emirati troops.

"These are all direct offenses that threaten Kuwait's diplomatic relations with sister countries," al-Mouaizri said.

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