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Kuwaitis acquitted over insulting tweets

Five men acquitted of insulting emir on social network

Kuwaitis acquitted over insulting tweets
Kuwait has cracked down on opposition members and former MPs using social media network Twitter.

Five members of the Kuwaiti opposition party have been acquitted of insulting the emir on Twitter, in the first ruling of its kind in the Gulf country.

The men were accused of using the Twitter hashtag "#battery" to cause offence to emir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah in tweets posted earlier this year, according to Kuwaiti media.

However, the public prosecution is expected to appeal the decisions against Mohammad Khaled Al-Ajmi, Fares Al-Balhan, Abdulaziz Al-Mutairi, Fahad Al-Jafaira and Rashed Al-Enezi, who is in jail on a similar charge.

Kuwait has cracked down on opposition members and former MPs using social media network Twitter since the start of the year, with several tweeters already sentenced. Al-Enezi was last month sentenced to two years in prison for tweets deemed offensive to the emir. He is in jail awaiting his appeal to be heard.

Abdulhakeem Al-Fadhli also was sentenced in absentia to two years in jail for encouraging stateless people (bidoons) to protest for citizenship.

On Tuesday, Human Rights Watch said Kuwait's human rights conditions had deteriorated since the crackdown on protesters, online activists and bidoons.

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