8 October: The Kuwaiti Appeals Court sentenced singer Khaled Al-Mulla to two years in prison for “insulting the judiciary” in a song which aired during a Ramadan television program, as reported by Al Khaleej Today.
Khaled Al-Mulla is one of the most famous folk singers in Kuwait and the Arabian Gulf. In the Ramadan month in 2019, he was a guest on the live political and social program Ramadan Lobby, which broadcasts every evening throughout the Ramadan Month on the Justice Channel (ATV). The program is known for hosting political figures, such as ministers and members of parliament, social figures and artists.
During the episode, Al-Mulla performed a song in which he criticised the phenomenon of “forged certificates in Kuwait” – but as soon as the program ended, the channel deleted it from its social media, the Ministry of Information decided to halt the program, and both the channel’s director and program presenter were suspended from work.
These measures were not sufficient for the Public Prosecution Office, which additionally decided to summon both the Ramadan Lobby presenter Ahmed Al-Fadhli and Khaled Al-Mulla, charging the latter with the aforementioned crime. The channel issued an apology, stating it was unaware of the contents of the song prior to airing the episode. At the same time, Al-Mulla stressed he did not intend to ridicule the Kuwaiti judiciary, for which he had full respect.
The Criminal Court previously ruled the singer to be innocent in the charges of “insulting the judiciary”, but the Court of Appeal decided to appeal the previous judgment by the Criminal Court. The court decided to suspend the enforcement of the sentence if a financial guarantee of 1,000 dinars (approximately 2807 Euro) is paid while taking a pledge of “good conduct” for the two year period.