A Kuwaiti court sentenced a female rights activist to three years in jail on Sunday after convicting her in absentia of publicly criticising the oil-rich Gulf state’s ruler.

The lower court convicted Rana Jassem al-Saadun of repeating parts of a speech made by prominent opposition leader Mussallam al-Barrak for which he is serving a two-year jail term, according to the ruling.

In the speech, delivered at a public rally in October 2012, Barrak warned Emir Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad al-Sabah against amending the electoral law to help the government control parliament.

Saadun was outside the country when the verdict was delivered, the court said. Activists online reported that she was in Lebanon.

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