5/16/2013

Bahrain court jails 6 tweeters for a year

Accused of ‘undermining the values and traditions of Bahrain’s society towards the king’
  • AFP

Dubai: A Bahraini court on Wednesday sentenced six tweeters charged with insulting King Hamad Bin Eisa Al Khalifa to one year in prison, the public prosecutor’s office announced.
The six were charged by the lower criminal court with “misusing the right of free expression”, it said in a statement.
They were accused of writing remarks “undermining the values and traditions of Bahrain’s society towards the king on Twitter,” according to the statement.
Activists in Bahrain, the scene of an opposition-led protest that began two years ago, use Twitter as a platform to report what they describe as government “violations” against them.
Prominent activist Nabeel Rajab, who heads the Bahrain Centre for Human Rights, has been in custody since June 6 on charges of insulting people via Twitter.
The avid tweeter was also accused of insulting the security forces in postings that he admitted came from his account on the microblogging website.
A total of 80 people have been killed in Bahrain since the protests erupted in February 2011, according to the International Federation for Human Rights.
Strategically located just across the Gulf from Iran, Bahrain is home base to the US Navy’s Fifth Fleet and is also a major offshore financial and services centre for its Arab neighbours in the oil-rich Gulf.