A Kuwaiti Shi’ite Muslim named Nasser Abul was arrested for posting criticisms on Twitter concerning the Sunni Muslim ruling families in Bahrain and Saudi Arabia. Lawrence al-Rashidi posted defamatory comments of Kuwait’s emir. Both Kuwait citizens will go on trial for the open criticisms of the Gulf Arab ruling families on Twitter, according to Reuters News Service.
Both citizens are remaining in detention for two more weeks before a hearing is scheduled. At the hearing, they will likely face charges of harming the Gulf Arab state’s interests and defaming the country’s ruler.
If you have been following any of the recent activities in Bahrain and Saudi Arabia, the you know democracy activists have used social media such as Facebook and Twitter to debate, organize and share information in Bahrain, where the kingdom’s Sunni rulers crushed a protest movement in March led mostly by the country’s Shi’ite majority.
Troops were called in by Bahrain from Sunni-led neighbors such as Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates to enforce its restrain. Kuwait, which has a Shi’ite minority, dispatched naval forces.
Another incident was when Bahrain questioned a rights activist last April for publishing an image showing signs of torture on a man who died in detention during the riots. There is no indication if the case will ever be brought to court.
Gulf Arab states are managed by closely-allied ruling families. The families are trying to prevent protest movements similar to those that brought down Egyptian and Tunisian leaders earlier this year. It will be interesting to see how this unfolds as more unrest starts to surface in these areas.