Two Kuwaiti men will be put on trial for negative tweets they made about ruling families in the region.
Reuters reports that the men insulted the ruling families of Bahrain and Saudi Arabia, as well as Kuwait’s own emir on Twitter. They will both be held for over two weeks in detention until a hearing.
One of the men to be tried is Nasser Abdul, who we wrote about earlier this month when he was detained and sued for defamatory comments made about ruling families in Bahrain and Saudi Arabia. At the time, he was being sued by a representative of one of the families he defamed in his tweets, although he denied actually tweeting them and blamed them on hackers when he was detained by the government. The other man to stand trial is Lawrence al-Rashidi who tweeted about Kuwait’s emir.
Neither men has formally been charged with anything. An official told Reuters that they would likely be charged with “harming the Gulf Arab state’s interests and defaming the country’s ruler” at the hearing.
Twitter has been a powerful tool of democracy activists in Egypt, Iran and other countries in the region. However, governments have been quick to try to clamp down on social media if they sense that their people may revolt.