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Image Credit: Gulf News archives

Cairo: A Kuwaiti appeals court has overturned a 10-year-jail term earlier handed down to an expatriate and a citizen on charges of involvement in a high-profile exam leak case.

A lower court had also ordered the two defendants – a Syrian expatriate and a Kuwaiti engineer – to pay combined fines of KD241,000 in the same case.

Both had been originally charged with leaking the high-school exams on social media in return for gains surpassing KD241,000.

However, the pair appealed the verdict and pleaded innocent.

On hearing the case, the appeals court decided to revoke the ruling on the grounds of lack of evidence. The court found out that the students had unlawfully got access to exam answers through anonymous culprits after the test sheets were distributed to them at exam halls.

The court was also told that the prime defendant holds an engineering degree and gives private lessons to university students. Accordingly, the seized money was the outcome of this tuition.

Last year, Kuwaiti prosecutors referred to court three cases involving dozens of defendants on charges of exam leaks, forgery and money laundering.

In January last year, Kuwaiti media reported that authorities had busted a network of secondary school exams after arresting 17 persons including 11 teachers and six accomplices suspected of involvement in leaking the tests a year earlier.

The number of students involved in the online scam was estimated at around 20,000. Investigations revealed that a teacher and a mediator had set up a WhatsApp group giving members access to the tests in return for a fee of KD50 per member, according to media reports.

The leaks allegedly began in 2022 and the students involved got access to answers to the exam questions via special earphones.

Last June, the Kuwaiti Interior Ministry said it had dismantled a new network accused of leaking the high school exams.

The ministry added that the network comprised two groups receiving money in return for involvement in exam leaks. An unspecified number of suspects were arrested and admitted to the crime.