Throughout the year of 2011, Kuwait has had many cases of arrests of twitter users. It started with two tweeps getting arrested for insulting a religious sect. Other cases had a political nature as those tweeps played a role in protesting the former prime minister who was accused of corruption. Recently, three tweeps were arrested then bailed out for insulting the Amir of Kuwait with the hashtag #بطارية (battery in Arabic) that was interpreted to be mocking the Amir’s heart which works on battery.
Among the Bedoon, the stateless community of Kuwait that is denied documentation and basic human rights, there hasn’t been any arrests because of social media use; at least not any documented cases. The community has been protesting since February 2011 and many arrests and trials were held against protesters. However, end of last month, marked the first case of a Bedoon arrested for a twitter account which the state security police believed it was established by him. Khaled Al-Enizi, 24 years old, was accused of making a fake account of one of the ministers and insulting the Amir.
According to Bedoon Rights, Khaled was insulted and threatened with rape during interrogation. The police used the “grilling” torture method in which a person gets held up above fire. Khaled’s arm was severely harmed and they had to take him to the hospital where the doctor said that he is fine. He was taken back to be tortured. The police used another method of torture against him called “the room of cooling the dead” that is conducted by telling the victim that a fridge is made for the dead and then put him in it until he confesses.
The State Security police made Khaled stand on one foot as he gets beaten and when he told them it was his weak foot, they hit it harder. They wet him with water and threatened to use electricity to shock his body if he does not confess. As the torture was going, they noticed that the twitter account they accused him of running was actually posting tweets while he’s in custody and thus decided to end the torture and charge him with the regular illegal protesting charges like the other detained protesters. He was bailed out on April the 2nd for 200 Kuwaiti Dinars and will go on trial for illegal protesting.