Kuwaiti singer Shams attends the opening ceremony of the Dubai International Film Festival in the Gulf emirate of Dubai on December 9, 2012
Kuwaiti singer Shams attends the opening ceremony of the Dubai International Film Festival in the Gulf emirate of Dubai on December 9, 2012 © Karim Sahib - AFP/File
Kuwaiti singer Shams attends the opening ceremony of the Dubai International Film Festival in the Gulf emirate of Dubai on December 9, 2012
AFP
Last updated: January 2, 2014

Saudi sentenced to jail and lashes over Twitter libel

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A Saudi court has sentenced a man convicted of defaming a Kuwaiti singer by accusing her on Twitter of adultery to three months in jail and 80 lashes, a news website reported Thursday.

The Saudi national, apparently a fan of a rival pop star, was sentenced for "accusing (Kuwaiti singer) Shams of adultery without providing proof," the Saudi Sabq news website cited the verdict as saying.

The ruling is based on Islamic sharia law which stipulates flogging for those who accuse others of having extra-marital sex without giving proof.

The man was also jailed for three months and fined 10,000 riyals ($2,700), the news website said.

Shams had filed a libel case against the man who owned a Twitter account titled in Arabic "the lawyer of Queen Ahlam," another Gulf pop star.

As well as accusing Shams of adultery, he posted fabricated photos depicting her in "obscene" situations, Sabq said, without elaborating.

The microblogging website is hugely popular in Saudi Arabia, which is also one of the 10-most censored countries for media, according to the New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists.

Some 41 percent of internet users in the oil-rich kingdom use Twitter, a study published by the US-based Business Insider website found.

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