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Tweeter jailed for 'insulting' religion

21 February 2012, 09:13

Kuwait - Kuwait's public prosecutor has ordered a Sunni tweeter to be detained for 21 days pending investigation on charges of allegedly insulting the faith of the Shi'ite minority, his lawyer said on Monday.

Mohammad al-Mulaifi was summoned by the Kuwaiti secret service on February 11 after he wrote an article on his Twitter account that contained material deemed offensive to Shi'ites, Yacoub Bahbood said.

He was questioned over a number of charges by the prosecutor who on Sunday ordered his detention for three weeks, the lawyer said.

Kuwaiti Shi'ites, who make up around a third of the native population of 1.17 million, staged a rally in protest against the article and demanded that authorities take action.

Mulaifi was questioned on charges of disparaging the Shi'ite faith, promoting for a group that aims at dismantling the foundations of the society and spreading false news that undermines the image of Kuwait, Bahbood said.

Regional tension

Mulaifi, an employee of the ministry of Islamic affairs and a writer, categorically denied all the charges and insisted that he did not mean to insult any faith, the lawyer said.

Sectarian tensions between Sunnis and Shi'ites in the Gulf state increased rapidly in the past several months, reflecting regional tension over Bahrain and Syria.

Bahbood said he will appeal again for the public prosecutor to release his client, who is a widower and has four children.

Kuwaiti courts in September sentenced a Sunni and a Shi'ite activist to three months in jail each for writing sectarian remarks on their Twitter accounts.


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