Cairo: 25 August 2020

The Arabic Network for Human Rights Information (ANHRI) expressed today its deep alarm and concern over Kuwait’s Public Prosecution’s decision, issued last Sunday, to imprison blogger Mohamed Al-Ajmi, known as “Bouasem”, #Freedom_To_ Bouasem, for posting a tweet that was deemed by some people “offensive to religions”, in continuation of the systematic hostility practiced by the Kuwaiti government towards Twitter and its users.

On Sunday 23 August, the Public Prosecution ruled to detain tweep Mohamed Al-Ajmi “Bouasem” to proceed with the investigation that was conducted today over the “contempt of religion” case, which was maliciously lodged against him for the comments he posted to his Twitter account.

Mohamed Al-Ajmi is prominent blogger and a member of the National Committee for Monitoring Violations (NCMV) which documents violations of freedom of expression in Kuwait. He is known for his satirical articles and tweets and his harsh criticism of the government in addition to his noticeable participation in the Kuwaiti “Hirak” protest movement. He was previously arrested, banned from travel, and brought to trial over several charges for his tweets on previous occasions. On 6 July 2014, he was arrested while he was documenting the violations committed in the “Dignity of a Nation” March before he was released on the same day. Also, in late 2013, the criminal court ordered his acquittal of the charge of “insulting the Emir of Kuwait” in a state security case.

He was also brought to trial in August 2014 when he was charged with contempt of religion after writing a short blog expressing his opinion towards the government’s decision to strip the Muslim preacher Nabil Al-Awadi of his Kuwaiti citizenship.

It should be noted that despite the fact that the number of Internet users in Kuwait is among the highest in the world, the cruel prosecution of tweeps and bloggers has led to a decline in the number of Twitter users. It has also resulted in tweeps launching a popular campaign entitled “#Tweeting_Is_Not_A_Crime” to limit the government’s encroachment on citizens’ right to voice their opinion and criticism on Twitter.

ANHRI said that “detaining blogger Mohamed Al-Ajmi for voicing his views on Twitter aims at intimidating bloggers and opinion-makers and constitutes a flagrant violation of the right to express opinion.”

ANHRI calls on Kuwait’s Public Prosecution to immediately release Mohamed Al-Ajmi “Bouasem. It also calls upon the Kuwaiti authorities to stop prosecuting activists and opinion-holders for merely expressing their views on social media.

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