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Bahrain court jails man for insulting wife of Prophet Muhammad

A Bahrain court has sentenced a man to two years of imprisonment for making defamatory comments about a wife of the Prophet Muhammad [BBC backgrounder]. The 19-year-old man allegedly posted offensive comments [AFP report] on a website that insulted Muhammad's wife Aisha. The Bahrain Information Affairs Authority (IAA) [official website] announced on Sunday that the man had been found guilty of defamation of Aisha, saying his comments were "too dirty and degrading to mention." The man was arrested after a police investigation into the comments. Aisha is revered by the Sunni Muslims [BBC backgrounder], who retain control of the Bahraini government despite the fact that the majority of the population are Shia Muslims.

In June a Kuwait court sentenced a man to 10 years of imprisonment for posting insulting and defaming comments [JURIST report] about the Prophet Muhammad and the Sunni Muslim rulers of Saudi Arabia and Bahrain on Twitter. Judge Hisham Abdullah found 26-year-old Hamad al-Naqi, a Shia Muslim, guilty on all charges of endangering state security and ordered the maximum sentence for him. A similar case arose last year when two men were detained for posting messages on the Internet criticizing Middle East rulers on social media websites Twitter and YouTube. Human Rights Watch called on the government to immediately release them [JURIST report], calling the detention merely an "illegal effort to punish him and intimidate others who might dare be critical about Kuwait's fellow Gulf monarchs."

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