KUWAIT CITY, KUWAIT (BNO NEWS) -- Kuwait's National Assembly on Wednesday voted overwhelmingly in favor of amendments to the country's penal code to apply the death penalty for those who insult Islam's Prophet Muhammad or his wives, a local newspaper reported on Thursday.
Forty-six members of parliament, including all cabinet ministers, voted in favor of the controversial amendments during the first round of voting on Wednesday. Four Shiite members of parliament opposed the amendments, two MPs refused to vote, and one Sunni MP abstained from voting.
According to the Kuwait Times, the amendments call for the death penalty for those who insult the Prophet Muhammad and his wives. It also stipulates a life-term sentence for anyone who insults the Prophet Muhammad's companions, although the report did not specify what would be deemed an insult.
The amendments still need approval during a second round of voting, which is expected to take place by the end of April, and approval from the government. Wednesday's vote took place after heated debates between Sunni MPs, who promoted the bill, and Shiite MPs who insist highly revered Imams must be included in the law.
Kuwait's penal code, of which aspects are based on Sharia law, already imposes hefty penalties, including lengthy jail terms, for those who insult the Prophet Muhammad, his wives, or his companions. Kuwait also imposes hefty penalties against other religious offenses.
According to human rights organization Amnesty International, no executions have been recorded in Kuwait since 2007, but at least seventeen people were sentenced to death for murder and drug-trafficking last year.
(Copyright 2012 by BNO News B.V. All rights reserved. Info: email@example.com.)