Kuwait: call for release of man detained for tweeting about Middle East protests

Amnesty International is calling for the release of a man in Kuwait who has been detained for tweeting in support of protestors in Bahrain and elsewhere in the Middle East.

Nasser Abul, 26, was arrested by Kuwait’s State Security Police on 7 June. He has been accused of tweeting insulting messages about the Bahraini and Saudi Arabian royal families. Abul was not able to see his family for the first four days of his detention and only saw a lawyer for ten minutes during this period. He claims he was tortured, insulted and threatened during the first two days of his detention.

On 12 June Abul appeared before the General Prosecution office on state security charges, including "damaging the country's interests" and "severing political relationship with brotherly countries". Neither his family or his lawyer were allowed to attend the hearing. On 14 June he was taken to his family's home, the property was searched and his computer and phone were confiscated.

Also on 12 June, a member of the Bahraini ruling family, Sheikh Abdullah Mohammad bin Ahmad Al-Fatih Al-Khalifa, announced that he intends to sue Nasser Abul for allegedly slandering and defaming his family.

Meanwhile, according to reports, a number of Twitter users in Kuwait have recently been interrogated by the State Security Police in connection with their online activities and postings.

Amnesty International UK Director Kate Allen said:

“Kuwait already has a poor record when it comes to allowing people to freely express their views and the arrest of Nasser Abul is particularly chilling.

“Mr Abul is a prisoner of conscience, being held solely for the legitimate exercise of his right to freedom of expression. The Kuwaiti authorities should drop the charges and release him immediately.

“The Kuwaiti authorities should also protect Mr Abul from torture and ensure he gets medical care and full access to his lawyer and family.”

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