Kuwaiti Twitter User Arrested for Criticizing Bahrain, Saudi Arabia

Nasser Abul, a Shi'ite Muslim, tweeted information about anti-government protests in Bahrain; this is not the first time a blogger has been detained in Kuwait.

Tal Pavel
Send in e-mailSend in e-mail
Tal Pavel

A young Kuwaiti man was detained recently for his criticism of the Bahraini and Saudi royal families.

Bahraini Shi'ite Muslims chant slogans to free prisoners arrested during the crackdown on anti-government protesters during a Friday sermon in Diraz, Bahrain, June 10, 2011. Credit: AP

Nasser Abul, a Shi'ite Muslim, published the critical remarks via his Twitter feed, at a very high frequency, until June 7. Notable among his tweets was information about the recent anti-government protests in Bahrain. He also uploaded photographs of people killed in the protests. In most of the cases, he re-tweeted other users' messages via his own feed.

This is not the first time that a blogger has been detained in Kuwait. Three months ago, a local blogger was released from a two-month stint in prison for slandering the name of the prime minister.

Damaging the image of state officials is a Middle Eastern taboo, damaging information and criticism are not meant to be published on the internet. With this in mind, Abul's detention does not seem surprising, especially considering Kuwait's important ties with Bahrain and Saudi Arabia.

There has been a lot of tension within the Sunni Bahraini regime over the last few months following protests among Bahrain's Shi'ite community, which makes up the majority of the population of the country. This tension is added to by this year's dramatic events in the Middle East, which have shown that the written word made public via the internet can bring a regime to its knees.

Despite this, Kuwait does not have a reputation for being problematic in terms of freedom of expression. It is not considered one of the "world's enemies of the internet," and it is at the top of the list of countries in the region that protect individual freedom and freedom of expression.

Dr. Tal Pavel is an expert in the Middle East and Islamic World's usage of the internet and technology.

Comments

SUBSCRIBERS JOIN THE CONVERSATION FASTER

Automatic approval of subscriber comments.
From $1 for the first month

SUBSCRIBE
Already signed up? LOG IN

ICYMI

Charles Lindbergh addressing an America First Committee rally on October 3, 1941.

Ken Burns’ Brilliant ‘The U.S. and the Holocaust’ Has Only One Problem

The projected rise in sea level on a beach in Haifa over the next 30 years.

Facing Rapid Rise in Sea Levels, Israel Could Lose Large Parts of Its Coastline by 2050

Tal Dilian.

As Israel Reins in Its Cyberarms Industry, an Ex-intel Officer Is Building a New Empire

Queen Elizabeth II, King Charles III and a British synagogue.

How the Queen’s Death Changes British Jewry’s Most Distinctive Prayer

Newly appointed Israeli ambassador to Chile, Gil Artzyeli, poses for a group picture alongside Rabbi Yonatan Szewkis, Chilean deputy Helia Molina and Gerardo Gorodischer, during a religious ceremony in a synagogue in Vina del Mar, Chile last week.

Chile Community Leaders 'Horrified' by Treatment of Israeli Envoy

Queen Elizabeth attends a ceremony at Windsor Castle, in June 2021.

Over 120 Countries, but Never Israel: Queen Elizabeth II's Unofficial Boycott