3 former lawmakers in Kuwait get prison terms over insulting ruler, but can stay free on bail

A defense lawyer in Kuwait says the country's top court has sentenced three former opposition lawmakers to 20 months in prison for insulting the country's ruler, though they will be allowed to remain free on bail.

Lawyer Yousif al-Hirbish said Sunday's decision overturned an earlier appeals court verdict acquitting the three parliamentarians — Falah al-Sawwagh, Bader al-Dahoum and Khaled al-Tahous.

He says they will be able to avoid prison time by paying 2,000 dinars bail — some $7,000.

The three were arrested in 2013 after participating in rallies opposing changes to Kuwait's voting rules made by the emir.

The sentence foreshadows what may be the return of political unrest in Kuwait after months of calm. Activist Musallam al-Barrack has called for an opposition rally Tuesday to announce government corruption allegations.