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Blogger detained for criticising Saudi and Bahraini governments on Twitter

(ANHRI/IFEX) - 12 June 2011 - ANHRI condemns the detention of blogger Nasser Abul on Wednesday 8 June 2011 by the Kuwaiti security forces, for his criticism on Twitter of the royal families in Saudi Arabia and Bahrain.

Abul, 26 years old, was detained on 8 June by Kuwaiti state security forces for criticizing the Al Saud and Al Khalifa royal families in Saudi Arabia and Bahrain over the suppression of the demonstrations in Bahrain. Kuwaiti authorities accused Abul of insulting allied countries which may damage ties with them, offending the prince, and exposing national unity to danger. Abul has been accused of these charges without being placed under formal investigation.

Kuwaiti printing, audio-visual and electronic publishing laws include various articles that can easily result in the conviction of any person for offending the prince and national security, and publishing any materials that may harm the strong ties between Kuwait and its neighboring or allied countries. Some articles can also result in the conviction of any person for offending the Gulf countries' leaders, which means that Abul could be convicted.

"It is unacceptable and shameful to detain a young blogger for criticizing the Arab leaders who conspire on suppressing the peaceful demonstrations which call for reform and democracy. Arab leaders should try the killers of unarmed civilians who are practicing their legal right to expression of opinion," ANHRI said.

The Saudi and Bahraini governments are at the top of the list of enemies to freedom of the internet. Furthermore they recruit people to spy on internet activists and foil the dialogues held between them using the same policy the toppled dictator Hosni Mubarak was following.

ANHRI added, "Kuwaiti authorities should release the young blogger and review the printing and publishing laws emphasizing that freedom of opinion and expression is a genuine human right that suppressive measures and detention can not inhibit and that as a member of the International Council for Human Rights, Kuwait is bound to be a model for countries respecting human rights, not the opposite."

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