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Kuwait: Blasphemy Against Islam

(June 18, 2012) On May 3, 2012, the Kuwait National Assembly (the country's parliament) passed a law amending the Penal Code that had been issued by Law No. 16 of 1960. The new amendments allow the imposition of severe penalties, including death, for blasphemy uttered in public against God, the Koran, or the prophets (especially the Prophet Mohammed or his wives). The penalty provided under the amendments cannot be less than life imprisonment for Muslims or ten years for non-Muslims. However, the court may decrease the penalty to no more than five years' imprisonment and/or a fine of no more than 10,000 Kuwaiti dinars for those who express repentance before the court. The text of the amendments as approved by the National Assembly is available in Arabic on its website. (Text (last visited June 14, 2012.)

On June 6, 2012, however, the Emir of Kuwait, whose approval is needed in order for the amendments to become law, rejected the amendments. (The Emir of Kuwait Rejects the Capital Punishment Law Against Offenders of Islam and Its Rituals [in Arabic], ISLAM MEMO (June 6, 2012).)