Twitter user jailed for Shi'ite insult

2011-09-26 07:27

Kuwait City - A Kuwaiti court on Sunday sentenced a Sunni Islamist activist to three months in jail for writing remarks on his Twitter account deemed derogatory to Shi'ite Muslims, a legal source said.

Mubarak al-Bathali, who is serving another three-month jail term on a similar case, was arrested several weeks ago by the secret service police on charges of undermining national unity and disparaging Shi'ites.

The sentence is not final as it can still be challenged in the appeals and supreme courts, but Bathali has to remain in jail until his appeals are examined.

The same Kuwaiti court is due to issue a verdict on Tuesday against a Kuwaiti Shi'ite blogger for allegedly using his Twitter account to harshly insult the rulers of Kuwait's Gulf partners Saudi Arabia and Kuwait.

Nasser Abul, 26, was arrested more than three and a half months ago and tried on charges of undermining national interests and risking severing Kuwait's relations with "brotherly countries".

He has denied the charges saying a hacker had written the offensive remarks on his Twitter account and that he had deleted them as soon as he saw them.

Kuwait Society for Human Rights and Amnesty International has called for Abul to be freed, with the latter saying it believes he is a "prisoner of conscience detained for peacefully exercising his right to freedom of expression".

Several Kuwaiti MPs have strongly criticised what they described as a government crackdown on bloggers and users of social networks Facebook and Twitter.