Saudi man sentenced to 80 lashes for accusing Kuwaiti pop singer of adultery on Twitter

The unidentified Saudi national allegedly accused pop singer Shams of adultery 'without providing proof' of her affair

A Saudi man has been sentenced to 80 lashes and three months in jail, after being convicted of defaming a Kuwaiti singer by accusing her of adultery on Twitter.

The unidentified Saudi national allegedly accused pop singer Shams of adultery "without providing proof" of her affair, according to the Saudi Sabq news agency. The news agency said he also posted fabricated photos showing Shams in "obscene" positions.

Shams subsequently filed a legal suit against the man. The Sabq said the verdict was based on sharia law, which states those who accuse others of adultery must be flogged.

The man, believed to have been a fan of a rival singer, was also fined 10,000 riyals (£1,600), AFP has reported.

Approximately 41 per cent of Saudi Arabia's population of 28.3m use Twitter according to Business Insider, which is a higher percentage than anywhere else globally. The country also has more YouTube users per capita than any other country in the world, despite wide reaching online censorship laws that block access to thousands of websites on the basis of content.

Earlier last month, a report published in Saudi Arabia newspaper Al-Hayat claimed the state's head of Commission for Audiovisual Media is planning to create a new agency to monitor content on YouTube and video sharing sites.

YouTube user Hassan Mesaed told Arab News: "The decision to censor content will limit the freedom of Saudi YouTubers. We use social media to share our opinions about different subject including social and political ones."

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