Bahrain detains six for insulting king

Bahraini women hold portraits of female prisoners during an anti-regime rally in a western suburb of Manama. (File photo)

Bahrain’s public prosecutor says six people have been arrested for allegedly insulting the country’s ruler Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa on Twitter.

The prosecutor’s office issued a statement on Wednesday and said the six had been detained over the past couple of days, without identifying them.

According to the statement, the detainees will be charged with misusing Twitter and defaming Bahrain’s king.

The latest detentions come two days after a court acquitted rights activist Yousef al-Muhafedha of spreading false news on Twitter.

Many rights activists in Bahrain are serving time, some even life terms, for expressing their anti-regime views on social media or in street protests.

The kingdom has come under strong criticism from international rights organizations over its ongoing crackdown on rights activists and demonstrations in the country.

On February 14, Amnesty International called on the Manama regime to release more than two dozen of Bahraini human rights activists held in jails across the Persian Gulf kingdom.

“It’s time that people detained simply for exercising their right to freedom of expression be released and for the harassment of other activists to desist,” the rights organization said.

Since mid-February 2011, thousands of pro-democracy protesters have staged numerous demonstrations on the streets of Bahrain, calling for the Al Khalifa royal family to relinquish power.