Kuwaiti Shiite tweeter jailed for sectarian remarks

AFP , Tuesday 27 Sep 2011

Kuwaiti court jails Shiite tweeter for posting remarks that were deemed offensive to Sunni Muslims, while he denies charges claiming his account was hacked


A Kuwaiti court Tuesday jailed a Shiite tweeter for three months for disparaging Sunni Muslims on the social network page, his lawyer said.

The sentence means that Nasser Abul, 26, will be set free because he has already spent more than three months in detention, his lawyer Khaled al-Shatti told AFP. Abul was arrested early June.

"He was convicted on the charge that he wrote remarks on his Twitter account deemed derogatory to Sunni Muslims. We will appeal the ruling," Shatti said.

The court acquitted him of a second charge that he also insulted the leaders of Kuwait Gulf partners Saudi Arabia and Bahrain, the lawyer said.

During the trial, Abul 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.

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

The same court on Sunday sentenced Sunni Islamist activist Mubarak al-Bathali to three months in jail for writing remarks on his Twitter account deemed derogatory to Shiite Muslims.

Sectarian tensions between the majority Sunni and Shiite Muslims have intensified in the past several months over mainly regional issues like Bahrain, Iran and Syria. Shiites make up around 30 percent of Kuwaitis.

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

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