Kuwait: Could a Hash Tag Send Twitter Users to Prison?

As in any country with netizens using Twitter, hash tags are created every day, every hour and some times even every few minutes. In Kuwait, one user created a hash tag #بطارية (battery in Arabic) and all hell broke loose.

Some Twitter users are claiming that a writer is responsible for the hash tag, with many circulating a screen shot of the tweet, which many felt insulted the country's ruler, and which is no longer available in the writer's timeline.

The ‘insult’ arose because the Emir, Shaikh Sabah Al Ahmad Al Sabah, is said to have had a pacemaker, which is operated by a battery.

Meanwhile, the concerned writer Mohammed AlAjmi, doesn't deny or confirm starting it and posts tweets like [ar]:

شششششششش !! ‎‫#بطارية
@abo3asam: shuuuush! Battery


١-٢ أنام ملأ جفوني عن شواردها ويسهر الخلق(بهاشتاق)ويختصم أستيقظ الأن على كل هذه الضجة التي يثيرها البعض. ما كتبته بالأمس مقتطفات من مقالي
@abo3asam: I sleep well while people stay up late about a hash tag and fight. I wake up on this noise some are making. What I wrote yesterday is snippets of my article.

While many thought of the original battery tweet as an insult to the Emir of Kuwait, a crime punishable by Kuwaiti law, the hash-tag quickly become popular among a very small minority of users who seemed to agree with the message. Meanwhile, the majority of Twitter users turned the incident into a witch hunt, calling for the imprisonment of those who dared insult the ruler.

Abdullwahab AlEssa, a television presenter, tweeted:

بوعسم وربعه الى النيابة غدا .. ورونا مراجلكم باجر
ِ@_Abdulwahab_: Abo3asam and all his friends will be taken to the the Public Prosecution tomorrow. Let's see how many you are then.

AbdulAziz AlYahya, a lawyer and CEO of a private television channel, added:

تم طباعة جميع المستندات التي أرسلوها لي جميع المغردين الشرفاء ضد الحثالة المتهجمين على صاحب السمو ‎‫#بطارية
@azizalyahya: I have printed all the documents that the honorable Twitter users have sent me against the scumbags who have insulted the Emir

Husain AlAbdullah, another lawyer and a journalist, wrote:

المغردين أصحاب هاشتاق ” بطارية” للنيابة العامة غدا، وجهاز أمني رصد كل التغريدات المعيبة بالذات الأميرية
@halabdullah: All Twitter users who participated in the Battery hash tag will be sent to the public prosecutor tomorrow and a security agency was monitoring all the tweets related to lese-majesty

Finally, Hamad AlNaqi, who defines himself as a member of Amnesty International and a defender of Bahraini people, said:

لن ننسى هاش تاق ‎‫#بطاريه‪‏ ‎‫#بطارية‪‏ ‎‫#البطاريه‪‏ ‎‫#البطارية‪‏ التعدي على مقام حضرة صاحب السمو امير البلاد لن يمر مرور الكرام
@alnaqi88: We shall not let the insult of the Emir pass! We shall not forget the hash tag Battery!


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