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Kuwait orders arrest of novelist for "insulting Saudi Arabia" on Twitter

An arrest warrant was issued to novelist Rania al-Saad on 27 August 2014 as a result of a report filed against her by the Kuwaiti Ministry of Foreign Affairs accusing her of "insulting Saudi Arabia" on Twitter, said the Arabic Network for Human Rights Information (ANHRI).

On 28 August, al-Saad applied for political asylum through the British Ministry of Foreign Affairs but got rejected on allegations that she was not being persecuted in her country. If al-Saad returns to Kuwait, the arrest warrant will be enforceable.

"The freedom of expression situation in Kuwait is in a state of continuous deterioration and it has become normal for anyone to express an opinion disagreeing with the state to face imprisonment penalties and withdrawal of nationality," said ANHRI. "We are also observing a few farcical trials against human rights activists, political activists and Twitter users. Kuwait is the top state to prosecute Twitter users regarding what they tweet.

ANHRI calls on the authorities and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to withdraw the report filed against the writer and the activist Rania al-Saad. The organisation also renews its demands to promptly release all the detainees of opinion in Kuwait.

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