Four Kuwaitis detained over Twitter comments

KUWAIT Mon Nov 19, 2012 8:55pm IST

Customers use computers at an internet cafe in Taiyuan, Shanxi province August 13, 2009. REUTERS/Stringer

Customers use computers at an internet cafe in Taiyuan, Shanxi province August 13, 2009.

Credit: Reuters/Stringer

Related Topics

KUWAIT (Reuters) - Four Kuwaitis have been arrested for comments made on Twitter and will be detained for 10 days for questioning, an Interior Ministry source said on Monday, after local media reported the detainees had criticised the country's ruler.

Kuwait, a U.S. ally and major oil producer, has been taking a firmer line on social media and has charged several citizens this year for comments made on the site which were deemed to be stoking tensions in the Gulf Arab state.

Twitter is extremely popular in the country.

"They were summoned and transferred to the prosecution. The public prosecution ordered a 10-day detention," the official said, declining to be named.

The source added that the four were arrested for comments made on Twitter but did not give any details.

Kuwaiti newspapers have reported that the four were arrested last week over comments deemed insulting to the emir, Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad al-Sabah, who is described as "immune and inviolable" in the constitution.

This issue has become sensitive in Kuwait since demonstrations against new voting rules ordered by the emir last month ahead of December 1 parliamentary elections.

The emir has said the changes were constitutional and were aimed at improving the voting system to help preserve national unity.

A prominent opposition politician, Musallam al-Barrak, has also been charged with comments deemed insulting to the emir made at an opposition rally in October.

Such direct public criticism is extremely rare in Kuwait and marked a shift in opposition rhetoric.

While public demonstrations about local issues are common in a state that allows the most dissent in the Gulf, Kuwait has avoided Arab Spring-style mass unrest that toppled three veteran Arab dictators last year.

But tensions have intensified between the elected parliament and opposition groups, and the hand-picked government in which ruling family members hold the top posts. (Reporting by Ahmed Hagagy; Writing by Sylvia Westall; Editing by Silvia Antonioli and Jon Hemming)

FILED UNDER:

Online Shopping

An empty shopping cart is seen outside a Best Buy store in Westbury, New York November 28, 2014. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton

BestBuy.com back online after second Black Friday outage

Best Buy Co Inc's retail website is back online after it was down for a second time on Black Friday, the busiest U.S. shopping day in terms of sales and traffic since 2005, according to ShopperTrak.  Full Article 

REUTERS SHOWCASE

Gold Imports

Gold Imports

India eases gold import rule in surprise move.  Article 

Indians in Iraq

Indians in Iraq

India says no contact with 39 men held by Islamic State in Iraq.  Full Article 

Sahara Issue

Sahara Issue

Sahara looks to raise $650 million loan to fund bail.  Full Article 

Bhopal Tragedy

Bhopal Tragedy

Bhopal's toxic legacy lives on, 30 years after industrial disaster.  Full Article 

Banking Sector

Banking Sector

After record deal, more India bank takeovers on cards  Full Article 

Islamic Fund

Islamic Fund

India gets new Islamic equity fund but debt market still off-limits  Full Article 

Cricket Tragedy

Cricket Tragedy

Clarke breaks down giving heartfelt Hughes tribute  Full Article 

Nigeria Violence

Nigeria Violence

Bombs, gunfire kill 81 at crowded mosque in Nigeria's Kano  Full Article 

Movie Review

Movie Review

D’Silva's “Ungli” just skims the surface  Full Article | Related Story 

Reuters India Mobile

Reuters India Mobile

Get the latest news on the go. Visit Reuters India on your mobile device  Full Coverage