A demonstration in front of the Grand Mosque in the Damascus suburb of Douma on Tuesday night
The man, whose name was not disclosed, defamed the Islamic faith and slandered the Prophet Mohammed, his companions and his wife, the Ministry of Interior said in a statement issued on state-run news agency KUNA. He is being interrogated ahead of court proceedings.
The ministry saiid that it “regretted the abusing of social networks by some individuals to offend basic Islamic and spiritual values, vowing to show zero tolerance in combating such serious offences”.
In September a Kuwaiti court convicted a man for insulting Gulf rulers and posting inflammatory sectarian comments on social media, but he was released immediately because of time already served while awaiting trial.
1956 GMT: Human Rights Watch released a statement today that questioned whether the Bahraini regime has seriously attempted to follow the recommendations of the Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry report.
“Bahrain has taken some positive steps, but the Bahraini authorities can hardly claim that the BICI’s recommendations have been implemented as long as hundreds of people remain behind bars solely for speaking out and demanding a change of government,” said Joe Stork, deputy Middle East director at Human Rights Watch. “And it seems that no high-ranking officials have been investigated for their roles in rampant torture or unlawful killings.”
Specifically, HRW praised the government for stripping the National Security Agency of the power to arrest or detain people. However, the report also raised several glaring problems that remain in Bahrain, perhaps the most significant being the behavior of police, and the ability for Bahraini citizens to raise concerns about police abuses.
On a related matter, the National Commission’s report said that the government has developed a code of conduct for police in line with international standards, instituted training programs “across the security services to embed respect for human rights and due process,” transferred investigations into torture allegations from the Interior Ministry to the Public Prosecution Office, and set up a “special investigations unit” in the Public Prosecution Office to investigate “unlawful or negligent acts that resulted in deaths, torture and mistreatment of civilians.” This followed a recommendation by five international lawyers [whom] the government had engaged to advise it on implementing the BICI recommendations.
Human Rights Watch questioned whether the decision to place the investigations assignment in the hands of the Public Prosecution Office would in fact meet “the requirements of independence, impartiality and effectiveness” specified by the international advisors unless that office is fundamentally reformed to make it, in practice, independent of the government and committed to comprehensive and impartial accountability. In several reports Human Rights Watch has documented the persistent failure of that office to investigate serious allegations of torture and ill-treatment and to order independent medical examinations of detainees making such allegations. The Public Prosecution Office readily based prosecutions on confessions that were proven to be coerced. The BICI report, for its part, said that it “received evidence indicating that, in some cases, judicial and prosecutorial personnel may have implicitly condoned” the lack of accountability.
1934 GMT: An organization, Women Under Siege, working in conjunction with Columbia University and Syrian activists, is attempting to crowd-map reports of sexual violence in Syria.
A map points to where the attack happened, while we give deeper context when you click on the report. One report already on the map is headlined “Multiple government attackers rape 36 women near Kurin/Sahl Al-Rawj.” That takes you to the story of a woman who left her hiding place to try to save the life of her son and husband as the army advanced on her town. Soldiers bashed her with a rifle and tore at her clothes wildly, she said, taking turns raping her while she watched her husband die.
While the map is only in its fledgling stages, other crisis zones have often reported violence against women months and years after the crisis was resolved.
The group hopes that people will use the Twitter hashtag "#RapeInSyria", as well as links on the website, to report incidents of rape that can be added to the map, which can be found here.
1900 GMT: We've heard this week that Turkey is increasingly concerned about its refugee problem, and could intervene in Syria just to stop the problem. That's why it's increasingly important to look for statements like these:
The LCCS also reports large protests in Aleppo after a university student was killed earlier, which matches other reports that we have heard.
1602 GMT: Several videos have emerged showing large protests in Aleppo today. This videos were reportedly taken in the Forqan district of Aleppo, south of the university. Loud explosions can be heard, possibly teargas, or flash grenades:
1557 GMT: This video, dated today, reportedly shows a battle between the Free Syrian Army and Assad forces in Saraqeb, Idlib province. It has been hard to get information or videos out of Saraqeb, as the power and communications have been cut, so it is impossible to verify this video.
1548 GMT: The LCCS shares a video that reportedly shows "Brigadier General Adnan Mohamad Al-Ahmad, Head of the Investigations Branch in the Northern Command," defecting and joining the Free Syrian Army.
We have not yet been able to verify the identity of the man in the video.
1538 GMT: In Egypt, the news today is dominated by two major political developments. The first, Egypt's elected assembly in charge of drafting the new constitution had a shortened first session today. 75 members of the 100 members attended, as 20 resigned in protest over the dominance of the moderate Islamic parties.
People's Assembly Speaker and leading Muslim Brotherhood member Saad El-Katatni was elected head of the constituent assembly in the procedural session.
In a brief address, El-Katatni stated that the constituent assembly would hold hearings with representatives from all over Egypt and from all segments of society in order to draft a constitution representative of all Egyptians.
Some members called on the assembly to delay the session until all members could attend, but this request was rejected.
The second piece of news came as a surprise to many, that the Egyptian military has pardoned activist Ayman Nour, freeing him up to run for President as planned:
Nour was sentenced to five years in prison for allegedly forging signatures on petitions to register his political party in 2005 when he ran against then-President Hosni Mubarak in elections.
At the time, Nour called the sentence a political punishment for his decision to challenge Mubarak.
1358 GMT: There are reports that the town of Al Rastan, north of Homs, has been heavily shelled today. The LCCS posts several graphic and disturbing videos of children injured and being treated in a field hospital there. (Like this one, and this one, and this one). There are also reports that Homs city is once again under attack, as are the towns to the west of Homs, in the Houle region.
1331 GMT: Al Jazeera English reports on the upcoming Formula 1 race in Bahrain. AJE speaks to several Bahraini officials, as well as activist Said Yousif alMuhafda, who talks about the ongoing strife in Bahrain. The closing line in the AJE report is the most baffling, that beyond the economic impact, the race could "restore Bahrain's former image as a relatively peaceful place."
1317 GMT: According to the Local Coordinating Committees of Syria, 9 people have been killed so far today, "among them  defected soldiers. 4 people were martyred in Homs, 2 fell in Hama and 2 in Deir Ezzor and 1 martyr fell in Idlib."
The Syrian military has renewed their attack on several locations, including A'zaz, north of Aleppo; Tafas, north of Daraa; Qa'alat al Madiq, northwest of Hama; Al Rastan, north of Homs; and the Hawle region west of Homs, where 6 have reportedly been killed (there is a discrepancy in the numbers between this LCCS report the their latest death toll).
James Miller takes over for Scott Lucas.
1150 GMT: Despite efforts to stem the flow, Syrian refugees continue to cross the borders. Several hundred reportedly entered Jordan last night, despite provisions that they must hand in their passports and IDs to local authorities and stay in buildings heavily guarded by police.
On Monday, the Los Angeles Times described one family's escape to Jordan.
1100 GMT: A demonstration in Idlib Province in Syria this morning:
These are the first elections since a Constitutional amendment removed a reference to the ruling Ba'ath Party as "the leading party in the society and the state". Nine parties have been licensed, in addition to those allied to the Ba'ath Party under the umbrella of the National Progressive Front.
The head of the elections committee, Khalaf al-Azzawi, maintained, "All provinces are witnessing good turnout of candidates", with the nomination period extended for another week "for citizens to get the required documents and for those who are outside the country to come back".
A statement issued after a two-day meeting in Istanbul said the SNC would be the "formal interlocutor and formal representative of the Syrian people".
The factions also expressed scepticism at the regime's acceptance of the peace plan presented by United Nations envoy Kofi Annan.
A statement after the meeting declared agreement on "a restructuring of the SNC and...a preparatory commission to write down a new law for the SNC". Only the National Co-ordination Committee, which did not attend, was absent from the agreement.
Tensions remain, however. Kurdish groups left at the end of the meeting because they were not guaranteed autonomy over their affairs.
Minister of Justice Sheikh Khalid bin Ali Al Khalifa told Parliament, "Bahrain has gone through an unprecedented period in which political, religious and social issues were mixed together and to solve problems we have to separate things. There are societies that have turned political differences into issues of existence and our priorities now are to implement consensus of the National Dialogue and make constitutional amendments in line with people's demands."
Sheikh Khalid also siad the ministry was working with international organisations to train clergymen how to behave properly.
The British-based Observatory said the troops entered the town in Hama Province just after dawn following a 17-day barrage of shelling and heavy gunfire to force out insurgents.
Abu Ghazi, a local activist, said members of the Free Syrian Army had withdrawn after carrying out hit-and-run operations to delay the regime's entry into the town."
Videos have shown the shelling of the historic fortress at the centre of Qalaat al-Madiq.
The Observatory also said, "Intense clashes erupted at dawn between regime forces and armed rebels in the town of Bosra al-Harir [in Daraa Province] after an officer warned local residents to surrender the rebels or face an assault."
And the Observatory claimed three regime soldiers were killed today in clashes with insurgents when they tried to enter Rastan in Homs Province.
0855 GMT: Amidst a Tuesday of rumours that Bahrain's Formula 1 Grand Prix had been cancelled because of security concerns, the president of the kingdom's Automobile Federation, Sheikh Abdullah bin Isa Al Khalifa, has assured: "We've never had any violence towards foreigners. All I can guarantee you is you will be as safe as at any other grand prix."
Al Khalifa continued:
Yes, the events of February 14 last year inflamed matters, but we've never had an issue with Formula 1, which has been visiting our country since 2004. Any death is unfortunate or regrettable, but no, I'm not worried at all. Of course, there are no guarantees in this world. You could be anywhere, even Silverstone [site of the British Grand Prix].
0735 GMT: Egypt's Freedom and Justice Party, linked to the Muslim Brotherhood, has claimed that Western governments are encouraging an offer of immunity from prosecution for the military ruler of the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces.
Senior party said they were lobbied to provide a "safe exit" for the ruling generals in exchange for a smooth transition to democracy. "Foreign embassies have been advocating this as a solution," claimed Gehad el-Haddad. "They're not just asking us to consider it --- they're saying it might be the only way.
"Violence on the ground has continued unabated, resulting in scores of people killed and injured," Robert Serry, the U.N. special coordinator for the Middle East peace process, told the 15-nation Security Council. "Credible estimates put the total death toll since the beginning of the uprising one year ago to more than 9,000."
Syria Tracker puts the death toll at 11,813 as of 25 March.
The fighting began on Sunday when a militiaman from Sabha was killed by gunmen from the Toubou group in a row over a car. Government forces arrived in the city on Tuesday and are trying to restore calm.
0705 GMT: Navi Pillay,the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, has expressed concern that Syrian authorities are deliberately and systematically targeting children, with some being held in detention.
Pillay said, "They've gone for the children --- for whatever purposes --- in large numbers. Hundreds detained and tortured....It's just horrendous. Children shot in the knees, held together with adults in really inhumane conditions, denied medical treatment for their injuries, either held as hostages or as sources of information."
Asked if President Assad bore command responsibility for the mistreatment of children and other abuses, Pillay said:
That is the legal situation. Factually there's enough evidence pointing to the fact that many of these acts are committed by the security forces [and] must have received the approval or the complicity at the highest level.
Because President Assad could simply issue an order to stop the killings and the killings would stop.
The Commissioner said she believed there was enough evidence to refer President Assad and his associates to the International Criminal Court:
Anyone who committed such violations would be held to account....I feel that investigation and prosecution is a crucial element to deter and call a stop to these violations.
There is no statute of limitations so people like [Mr Assad] can go on for a very long time but one day they will have to face justice.
0525 GMT: Meanwhile, amid the talk of peace, 80 people were reportedly killed by regime forces. Notable among the claim was 41 casualties in Saraqeb, the town in Idlib Province under regime assault, although it is not clear from activists if this was the total for Tuesday or throughout the several days of the siege. Fifteen people also died in Homs, 10 in in Hama, and five in the Damascus suburbs.
The Local Co-ordination Committees of Syria have appealed to the Red Cross and other humanitarian organisations to enter Saraqeb and provide assistance.
0515 GMT: Tuesday's news from Syria was dominated by the announcement that the Assad regime had accepted the plan of United Nations envoy Kofi Annan for a resolution to the crisis, including talks with the opposition, a cessation of violence, timely provision of humanitarian assistance, the release of political detainees, freedom of movement for journalists and freedom of association and protest.
The Syrian National Council, a leading opposition group, "cautiously welcome[d] the regime's acceptance of the plan". Other opposition factions were sceptical, however, and US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was guarded, "Given Assad's history of over-promising and under-delivering, that commitment (to Annan) must now be matched by immediate actions. We will judge Assad's sincerity and seriousness by what he does, not by what he says."
Annan will join an Arab League summit in Baghdad today to discuss the situation. He has already spoken with Russian and Chinese leaders this week to seek consensus on his proposals.