Kuwait to try two over Twitter posts: official

KUWAIT Mon Jun 27, 2011 7:13am EDT

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KUWAIT (Reuters) - Kuwait will put on trial two citizens for criticizing Gulf Arab ruling families on social media site Twitter, a security official said on Monday.

Nasser Abul, a Kuwaiti Shi'ite Muslim, was arrested for posting criticisms of the Sunni Muslim ruling families in Bahrain and Saudi Arabia, and Lawrence al-Rashidi posted defamatory comments of Kuwait's emir, he said.

He said both would remain in detention for two more weeks before a hearing is scheduled, where they will likely face charges of harming the Gulf Arab state's interests and defaming the country's ruler after being arrested earlier in June.

Democracy activists have used social media such as Facebook and Twitter to debate, organize and share information in Bahrain, where the kingdom's Sunni rulers crushed a protest movement in March led mostly by the country's Shi'ite majority.

Bahrain called in troops from Sunni-led neighbors such as Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates to enforce its crackdown. OPEC member Kuwait, which has a Shi'ite minority, sent naval forces.

Bahrain questioned a rights activist in April for publishing an image which appeared to show signs of torture on a man who died in detention during the unrest. It is not clear if the case will be brought to court.

Gulf Arab states, run by closely-allied ruling families, are trying to prevent protest movements that brought down Egyptian and Tunisian leaders earlier this year from taking off in their patch.

(Reporting by Eman Goma; editing by Mark Heinrich)

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