140 Characters Denied Freedom of Speech in the Gulf

Since 2011, social media has given Gulf activists a powerful tool to call for reform. The government has responded with new repressive laws on cybercrime, more online surveillance and more arrests, prosecutions and imprisonments of peaceful activists. Waleed Abu al-Khair Serving 15-year prison sentence for criticizing human rights abuses in TV interviews Mohammed al-Qahtani Serving a 10-year sentence after he called for a constitutional monarchy Mohammed al-Roken 2011: Defended pro-democracy activists in court. 2013: 10-year prison sentence Ahmed Mansour Imprisoned, harassed, charged with “insulting” officials after he called for democracy Zainab al-Khawaja Arrested many times, now exiled, for various “crimes” including ripping up a photo of the king Nabbed Rajab Facing 12 years in jail for peacefully criticizing his country’s participation in the war in Yemen Gulf governments should allow free debate among members of society and carry out the much-needed reforms instead of hauling peaceful activists off to jail.

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