Kuwait arrests online activists 'over Saudi criticism'
KUWAIT CITY // Kuwait authorities have detained several online activists for comments deemed offensive to Saudi Arabia’s late King Abdullah, activists said on Thursday.
Secret police arrested online activist Mohammad Al Ajmi on Wednesday outside his home for “unknown reasons”, the National Committee for Monitoring Violations, an independent rights group of which Mr Ajmi is a member, said on Twitter.
Online activists and former MPs that Mr Ajmi was being held for questioning over tweets he made on Saudi Arabia.
Nawaf Al Hendal, a leading rights activist, said at least four others had been detained by state security for tweets deemed offensive to King Abdullah who died on Friday.
Mr Al Hendal also said that arrest warrants have been issued against him and five other tweeters for the same reason.
Last week, Kuwait’s appeals court lengthened a two-year term to five years in jail against activist Abdulaziz Jarallah Al Mutairi for allegedly insulting the emir on Twitter.
His lawyer said on Thursday his client will challenge the ruling through the courts.
A lower court, meanwhile, sentenced six stateless men to one year in jail, followed by deportation, for allegedly taking part in an unlicenced gathering and assaulting police.
Kuwait has cracked down on activists for making comments seen as critical of its ruler and other Arab leaders.
Former liberal MP Saleh Al Mulla was detained for five days this month for tweets deemed offensive to Egyptian president Abdul Fattah El Sisi and will stand trial on February 15.
Shiite MP Abdulhameed Dashti is facing trial for criticising Bahrain leaders, while former MP Mubarak Al Duwailah was questioned over comments critical of Abu Dhabi’s rulers.
* Agence France-Presse
Updated: January 29, 2015 04:00 AM