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‘Threats have consequences’

Are threats part of your teasing style?

KUWAIT: Some individuals may playfully tease others with threats, unaware that it could lead to serious consequences if the teased person reports it, even if there was no harmful intent behind the teasing. To shed light on the legal implications and the importance of caution even in jest, Kuwait Times interviewed Lawyer Shoug Shabkouh, who said that the Kuwaiti law strongly condemns and penalizes such threats, as outlined in Article 173 of the Penal Code. This article covers all types of threats made against oneself, property, reputation, or others, regardless of whether they were conveyed verbally, in writing, or through actions causing fear.

Therefore, even if the teaser says that they don’t mean any harm, Shabkouh explained that the law doesn’t excuse their words from punishment. However, the court will decide the severity of the punishment for the teaser. “Assessing intent in these cases is often intricate,” she noted. “But the court has the discretion to consider various factors, such as investigations and witness statements, to determine suitable penalties, ranging from fines to imprisonment.”

Shoug Shabkouh
Shoug Shabkouh

Furthermore, Shabkouh expanded on the fact that family members are not exempted from legal repercussions for making threats. She emphasized that in certain cases, husbands, for instance, may threaten their wives, often misunderstanding the distinction between lawful disciplinary actions and threats. “Although the law permits husbands to discipline their wives within certain boundaries, inflicting serious harm, causing permanent disability, or engaging in any criminal behavior is strictly forbidden. Kuwait’s legislative framework offers multiple channels to protect family members, especially spouses, from violence and criminal acts,” she clarified.

Finally, Shabkouh specified on making murder threats. She explains: “As per Article 173, the punishment for threats involves imprisonment for up to two years and a fine not exceeding KD 150, or either of these penalties. However, when it comes to threatening with murder, the consequences are more severe, with imprisonment for up to three years and a fine not exceeding KD 225, or either of these penalties. Murder threat is considered both a misdemeanor under Article 173 and a crime under Law No 16 of 2020, which addresses protection from domestic violence.”

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