x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

Anonymous hacks Kuwaiti government website

Twitter account called Anonymous Kuwait, which associates itself with the international hacking collective Anonymous, posts speech that earns opposition leader five-year prison term. Elizabeth Dickinson reports

Hackers said yesterday that they had gained access to a Kuwait government website and posted a speech that earned an opposition leader a five-year prison term this week.

A Twitter account called Anonymous Kuwait, associating itself with the international hacking collective Anonymous, said it had posted a speech by the former member of parliament, Musallam Al Barrak, on a page intended for parliamentary news at news.gov.kw/omah. The speech was posted at about 1am, but the page was taken down immediately.

Screenshots circulated on social media showed the Anonymous logo emblazoned across the page.

An official in the information ministry "denied that its website has been hacked", the state news agency KUNA reported, calling the attack "nothing more than a penetration of an old page".

Al Barrak, a popular opposition figure who has inspired pop songs, social media fan accounts and large demonstrations, was on Monday sentenced to five years in jail for insulting the emir, Sheikh Sabah Al Ahmad Al Sabah.

Prosecutors said that his speech, delivered at a political rally on October 15 last year defamed the emir by saying "we will not allow you, your highness, to take Kuwait into the abyss of autocracy".

The words - "we will not allow you" - have become a rallying cry for opposition supporters and is often chanted at demonstrations.

Al Barrak has not been arrested yet, and thousands of supporters marched outside the former MP's home on the outskirts of Kuwait City on Monday and Tuesday.

Pro-government MPs yesterday criticised the interior minister, Ahmad Al Humud Al Sabah, for failing to take Al Barrak into custody.

"If he refuses arrest, we should send him armoured vehicles from the army and the national guard," said Nabeel Al Fadhl, a pro-government legislator.

edickinson@thenational.ae

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