A Saudi blogger who has been detained in Kuwait since March is being held for more than two years and faces up to 10 years in prison if convicted of “inciting racial hatred” in a blog post that criticizes the Saudi monarchy, police said Thursday.
The blogger, Abdulla Al-Badi, who has also worked as a journalist, was arrested in a police raid on a house in Kuwait’s capital on March 9.
The investigation began after a complaint was made against Al-Fadl, who is a Saudi Arabian-American, by Kuwaiti authorities, the Kuwaiti police said in a statement.
The police said he was arrested after he posted on Twitter, a popular social media platform, a series of tweets that accused the royal family of violating human rights and social justice, including the killing of Shiite cleric Nimr al-Nimr.
The Saudi government has long denied any connection to the cleric’s death.
The Kuwaiti investigation into Al-Nomr’s killing said he and other Shiite clerics were killed by a Saudi-led coalition of Sunni Muslim nations.
Al-Khawaja, a Kuwaiti-born American citizen, has been held in custody since March on charges of “indecent comments” and “incitement to racial hatred,” the police said.
He has been denied bail and has not been allowed to see his lawyer.
He posted his Twitter account on Thursday saying he is under investigation and that he would “tell the truth,” the Kuwait News Agency reported.
The charges against him were not immediately available.
Kuwait’s Foreign Ministry said it was “deeply saddened” by the news and was seeking clarification on what “religious” beliefs Al-Abedi believed, and whether he had any links to extremist groups.
The ministry said it would cooperate with the Kuwait Police to determine whether Al-Ansari’s comments violated the country’s laws against incitement of hatred.
The Foreign Ministry also said that “the government is not against religion and it will not tolerate any form of religious discrimination or religious discrimination.”
The Saudi-owned Al Jazeera network, which is based in the United Arab Emirates, condemned the arrest of Al-Bayan.
“We condemn this case, as it shows how Islamophobia is spreading and has reached the point where there are cases where people are arrested because of their religion,” said Ali al-Hamdan, the network’s director of news.
“This is yet another example of the way the Saudi government is using the media to advance their agenda.
Al Jazeera is fully committed to freedom of expression and freedom of opinion.”
Al-Bahra, a prominent blogger who is based at Al Jazeera, also condemned the case and expressed disappointment with the arrest.
“If this was the case of a Muslim blogger, he should be free,” Al-Hamda told Al Jazeera.
“The government is making a mockery of the rule of law and the rule that has been imposed on Saudi Arabia.”
Kuwaiti Prime Minister Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad said on Thursday that Kuwait would make every effort to secure the release of the blogger and “support his release, including legal assistance.”
Al Al-Ahmar was also quoted by state-run news agency KUNA as saying that Kuwait is seeking information from Saudi authorities to determine if the blogger’s arrest was related to an ongoing investigation.
“There is no connection between this case and the arrest in Saudi Arabia,” the prime minister said.
“Kuwait is in constant communication with the government and the interior ministry.
We want to see justice done.”