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Kuwait: Shia Twitter User Arrested

Never before in Kuwait has a Twitter user been arrested for what they wrote online until Nasser Abul (@NasserAbuL), a young Shia Kuwaiti, was detained three days ago.

Only once before, a Kuwaiti Twitter user called Mishari Buyabis (@mbuyabis) was questioned by state security police but not arrested, for his criticism of the government.

The news took the Kuwaiti cyber space by storm on the morning of June 10, 2011, suggesting that Abul was arrested by state security police for threatening national security and was not allowed to see his family or his lawyer.

Many tweeps from Kuwait have condemned this act saying it is illegal, but many unknown netizens complimented it since Abul is known for his Shia extremism using dirty language online and supporting the Syrian regime while criticizing the Bahraini and Saudi regimes. The situation, simply, was turned into an online sectarian war.

Picture of detaineed tweep Nasser Abul (in blue) taken from his Twitter account.

Picture of detaineed tweep Nasser Abul (in blue) taken from his Twitter account.

Kuwaiti writer and cartoonist Jafar Rajab (@jafarrajab) was one of the first to tweet Abul's arrest news. He condemned this act saying it violates freedom of expression (Ar):

قف مع ناصر ابل ليس دفاعا عن ارائه او توجهه بل دفاعا عن حقه في ابداء الراي!

@jafarrajab: You have to stand with Nasser Abul not to defend his opinions but to defend his right of expression.

Kuwaiti activist, blogger, and columnist Dhari Al-Jutaili (@Dhari_) has also refused what happened to Abul saying:

الموضوع مو ان ناصر ابل بطل والا لا، تتفق معاه والا لا .. كلش مو مهم .. المبدأ ما يصير شخص يعتقل لآرائه ويظل أيام محد يدري عنه

@Dhari_: It is not about whether Abul is a hero or not, whether we agree with him or not. This does not matter. The point is that one should not be arrested for days without anyone knowing about him.

Kuwaiti Shia parliament member Hassan Jawhar (@HasanJohar) wrote a tweet against arresting Abul, asking the minister of interior affairs to set him free.

اعتقال المغرد ناصر أبل انتهاك صارخ لحرية التعبير عن الرأي ولا يجوز استمرار احتجازه دون تهمة وعلى وزير الداخلية تحمل مسؤولياته في هذا الشأن

@HasanJohar: Arresting the tweep Nasser Abul is a violation of freedom of expression and he should not stay detained without a charge. Minister of interior affairs should be held responsible in this regard.

Kuwaiti tweep Ahmad AlHendal (@ahmadhendal) found the arrest of Abul as a tool using Kuwaiti youth to cause the downfall of the prime minister Sheikh Nasser Al-Mohammed.

هل هي حركة اعتقال الشباب الكويتي جزء من مسلسل إحراج حكومة ناصر لدفعها للاسقاط ؟ هل الشباب الكويتي اصبح جزء من تصفية الحسابات؟

@ahmedhendal: Is this movement of arresting Kuwaiti youth a way to embarrass the government and push it to its downfall? Have Kuwaiti youth become part of the political war?

Another Kuwaiti tweep, Dr. Fawaz Farhan (@FawazFarhan) has written several tweets about the issue of Abul saying that the way Abul criticized the foreign regimes is his right.

من حقّي أن أنتقد أي نظام قمعي وأن أدعم الشعوب الحرة المنتفضة (كما فعلت حكومات الخليج مع الليبيين) وليس من حق الحكومات العربية تحديد ما أقوله

@FawazFarhan: I have the right to criticize any violent regime and support the free revolting nations (just the way regimes of the Gulf have supported the Libyan uprising) and Arab regimes have no right to specify to me what I should say.

Tweep Salem Al-Ajmi (@engrsalemq8) wrote:

نحن نؤيد تطبيق القانون على ناصر أبل وليس التعسف في تطبيقه،يجب تحويله للنيابة للمحاكمة من غير الاطالة في امن الدولة،حتى لا تصبح عادة الاخرين

@engrsalemq8: We do support applying the laws on Nasser Abul but not acting extremely in that matter. He should be facing trial and not left in the custody of the state security police any longer so that this would not turn into a habit.

Kuwaiti graphic designer Mohammed Sharaf who has been known lately on Twitter for producing works to support different causes, worked on this piece to express his refusal for violating freedom of expression by arresting Abul:

Graphic work by @MohammadRSharaf against the arrest of Nasser Abul

Graphic work by @MohammadRSharaf against the arrest of Nasser Abul

Some tweeps have invited people to gather in front of the State Security police's building to demand the release of Nasser Abul and tweep Ali Khuraibit tweeted an unclear picture of the protest:

Picture of the protest demanding Abul's release posted by @Ali_Khuraibet

Picture of the protest demanding Abul's release posted by @Ali_Khuraibet

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