Kuwait activist detained for comments criticising Saudi interior minister

Kuwait activist detained for comments criticising Saudi interior minister
Hamed Buyabes, who boasts a significant social media following, accused Saudi Arabia of facilitating the "smuggling" of food products from Kuwait.
2 min read
17 July, 2023
Several Kuwaitis have previously been jailed for making "defamatory" comments about Saudi Arabia [Getty]

Kuwaiti authorities have arrested an activist following a series of tweets he made criticising Saudi Interior Minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Saud bin Nayef, local media reported.

Hamed Buyabes will be detained for 21 days on charges of "insulting a neighbouring country" pending investigation.

The Ministry of Interior in Kuwait said it had already started judicial proceedings against the activist.

Buyabes, who boasts over 200,000 followers on Twitter, published a video on Saturday showing Kuwait-produced rice and milk powder being allegedly transported to other countries.

The Kuwaiti government doesn’t permit milk produced by the Kuwaiti Supply company to be exported overseas, with the aim of prioritising the country’s citizens.

The activist accused Saudi Arabia of facilitating what he called "smuggling."

In his tweets he said:  "The so-called Abdul Aziz bin Saud bin Nayef Al Saud. You are nothing to me and I am not honoured to know you. What I know for sure is that mercenaries from your country’s customs officials trade in the sustenance of the Kuwaiti people through cheap smuggling!"

"Watch with me how this cheap ugliness is allowed to be smuggled. May the blessings of Kuwait be upon you," he added.

Buyabes went on to tag the minister in a series of tweets he made.

The tweets also gained major traction on the social media platform, garnering over 3.5 million views.

Following the tweets, the Kuwaiti Ministry of Interior said that the incident has been "referred to relevant authorities, in order to take all necessary legal measures against him."

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In a follow-up tweet, Buyabes confirmed his detention, saying that he had received a call from the country's state security agency.

There have been several cases where Kuwaitis have been arrested by local authorities for making comments deemed negative about Saudi Arabia.

Last year, a Kuwaiti national was sentenced to five years in prison for a tweet he made after he was charged with "disseminating false news" about the Gulf kingdom.

In 2015, several activists were arrested for writing comments considered offensive to the late King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz Al Saud.