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Bahrain Jails Six Twitter Users for Insulting King

Six Twitter users have been sentenced to a year in prison each by a Bahrain court today for allegedly insulting King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa on the micro-blogging site.

According to the government-run Bahrain News Agency, the “six suspects” where charged in five different cases “related to the misuse of freedom of expression and defaming His Majesty the King on twitter.” It added the six were “charged [with] misusing freedoms of expression and opinion publically and remanded .. in custody ahead of their trial.”

According to the London-based Bahrain Press Association those sentenced are [ar]:

المحكمون بالسجن في بتهمة إهانة الملك في هم: المحامي مهدي البصري، محمود طارش، محسن عبدعلي، حسن عبدعلي، حسن عبدعلي، عمار مكي.

@BahrainPA: Those sentenced to prison with the charges of insulting the king on Twitter are: lawyer Mahdi Al Basri, Mahmood Taresh, Mohsin Abdali, Hassan Abdali, Hassan Abdali and Ammar Makki.

Tweets that won't land you in trouble in Bahrain

Tweets that won't land you in trouble in Bahrain

The name Hassan Abdali appears twice and Global Voices Online cannot verfiy whether it is two separate people or a mistake. A query by Global Voices remained unanswered at the time of writing this post.

The association added:

@BahrainPA: BPA: consider these sentencing unfair provisions that violate the freedom of Expression

Meanwhile, the Bahrain Youth Society for Human Rights says five Twitter usershave been sentenced to a year in prison – and calls for their immediate release:

The Bahrain Youth Society for Human Rights (BYSHR) demands:

  1. the immediate release of those who were arrested due to freedom of opinion and expression and to drop all charges against them;
  2. put an end to the restrictions against social media in Bahrain;
  3. protect the free exchange of information on the Internet and not restrict it.

The sentencing sparked criticism online.

Bahraini Freedom Prayers sees the sentences as a threat to silence other dissidents:

@FreedomPrayers: Last year twitter users sentenced to 6months. This year the offering reached 1yr. If the rest didn't shut up, next it will be 5yrs. #Bahrain

From Cambridge, the UK, author Toby Matthiesen tweets:

@TobyMatthiesen: Bahrain court jails 6 tweeters for a year for “insulting” the King. Another sign of GCC trying to limit Twitter impact

And researcher Marc Owen Jones challenges:

@marcowenjones: They couldn't arrest everyone if they all insulted the King on Twitter. Or could they…? #Bahrain

  • Danielle Sebire

    What does it say in English?

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  • http://www.facebook.com/sssbeast Iamthebeast Ssotlohiefmjns

    I was given a harsher sentence here in America, Riverside County California by the new methods the county governments biased individuals use. Accused of Threatening Mount San Jacinto Community College in 2007 and growing illegal pot, I was convicted of many charges save where a Hemet Police Officer who knew me and was present did testify for me against the arresting officers of that school MSJC. I was not allowed to defend myself or present my case, I was tied to worthless lawyers also biased, and I just recently am getting a voice against them.
    I urge the entire world and these people themselves to kill with vengeance these people for I warn them that my curse will be worse and will overtake the face of mankind in time, soon.
    I also want to show what bias by Judges against people causes, as I intend to desolate with all the forces of nature the entire world till mankind be near if not extinct. Why? Because of these Judges and Cops and Lawyers and DA,s in this Riverside County Ca that offend Beast Six Six Six Lord.
    Sounds absolutely grandiose but the God I serve is not any less magnificent and able. I dwell here in Hemet and Curse all the world because of the crimes of these authorities in Riverside County Ca and from Mount San Jacinto Community College, and others as well, crimes that some federal statues of civil rights protection call for even penalty of death for violation. They are all scumbags and I summon and rouse the people to kill them or take the punishment my God pours out for my tears against them and you who allow them the world wide.
    I do not care if the whole world come to Hemet and Riverside and get these people and cut their heads off for me, kill them and their children I say, Amen. I am against even the students in all the world in all schools now and summon fire on all people, what will these people do when it begins to fall if it ever does fall? Will they not lay down and die in the ranks of the dead for they are curse and damned and I stomp them under foot. Amen the Whirlwinds

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