Kuwait: After Three Months in Prison, Court Releases Twitter User

Three months ago, with sectarianism reaching its climax in the public sphere after the Bahraini protests, a Kuwaiti Twitter user named Nasser Abul (@NasserAbuL) was arrested for insulting the Bahraini and Saudi regimes.

At first, many people thought arresting Abul was caused by his sectarian tweets, which he wrote to express his anger towards what is happening to adherents of the Shia sect in Bahrain; however, that was not the only charge. Abul spent three months between the state security police and the central jail and his court sessions were postponed several times. Finally, the court decided to release Abul after sentencing him to three months, which he had already served, for insulting the Sunni sect.

Nasser Abul after his release. Picture taken from the Facebook group "We are all with Nasser Abul".

Nasser Abul after his release. Picture taken from the Facebook group "We are all with Nasser Abul".

This decision came weeks after the sentencing of a Sunni tweep called Mubarak Al-Bathali (@mubaark) to three years in jail for insulting a religious sect and trying to “hurt national unity”. Al-Bathali, unlike Abul, did not try to deny what he wrote on Twitter. The sentence was later shortened to six months in jail.

Kuwaiti mainstream media has not been transparent about the details of Abul's case and what is generally assured is that he denied writing his tweets, saying that someone hacked into his account and tweeted the controversial posts.

Online, Kuwaiti netizens kept on using the sectarian insulting posts against each other. When looking for reactions to Abul's release, one can hardly find anyone dealing with this case as a human rights or a political case. In the Kuwaiti National Online Forum, a discussion was started after the release of Nasser Abul when a forum member called Al-Ashtar [ar] wrote the following:

ظهر الحق وان تأخر .. نحن في دولة قانون يحاكم ويحاسب كل شخص وفق ما ورد في نص القانون .. لا مكان لشريعة الغاب ان تحكم .. ناصر كان كبش فداء .. فعسى ان يتعظ من يعي ويفهم
Al-Ashtar: The truth is out even if it was late; we are in a country of laws and it is according to those laws that people get put on trial. There is no place for the jungle law to rule. Nasser is not a scapegoat. So we hope people get the lesson.

Another member of the forum named “Bidoon Mojamala” [ar] responded by saying:

نعم ظهر الحق وان تأخر … والحق الذي ظهر وتبين للجميع ان ناصر ابل اخذ اقل من جزاه، وأعلم ياعزيزي ان ناصر ابل الآن ليس ناصر ابل سابقا (أمن الدولة) اعطته درسا كافيا وتعلم منهم كيفية ( المشي تحت الحيط ) .!! والايام القادمه ستثبت لك ذلك وسيحسب لأي كلمة ألف حساب قبل ان يتفوه بها
Bidoon Mojamala: I agree, the truth came out late, but the truth is that Nasser took less than what he deserved in terms of punishment. You should realize that Nasser now is not the previous Nasser because the State Security Police gave him a lesson to teach him how to avoid such trouble! The coming days will prove that to you and he will be more careful before saying any words.

Al-Ashtar wrote another reply in this post, which went on for several pages, saying that sectarianism is very common in Kuwait:

تهمة الاشهر الثلاث كانت بسبب تحقير مذهب ديني .. تأكدي ان هذا القانون لو تم تفعيله لربما نحتاج الى بناء سجون في بر المطلاع لرمي اكثر من نصف الشعب هناك، شخصيا اتمنى تفعيل هذا القانون بشكل صارم على الكل وليس على الواحد
Al-Ashtar: The three months sentence was for insulting a religious sect; be sure, if this law was activated then we will have to build prisons in the desert to throw half of the population in. Personally, I wish this law gets applied strictly on everyone and not only on one person.

Sager [ar] tried to speak the wise word saying that people should defend the Shia Nasser Abul and the Sunni Mubarak Al-Bathali equally:

على من يدعون الديمقراطيه من الطرفين ان يدافع عن الطرفين او يلوم الطرفين
Sager: Those who speak of democracy from both sects should defend or blame both sides.

Further Reading:

Advox: Three Netizens Detained

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