The world stabbed in the back?
Saudi Arabia has used Interpol's system to get a journalist arrested in Malaysia for supposedly insulting Muhammad on Twitter
Police in Kuala Lumpur said Hamza Kashgari was detained at the airport following a request by Interpol on behalf of
the Saudi authorities.
Kashgari, a newspaper columnist, fled Saudi Arabia after posting a tweet on Mohammed's birthday that sparked more than 30,000 responses and several death threats. The posting, which was later deleted, read:
I have loved things about you and I have hated things about you and there is a lot I don't understand about you ... I will not pray for you.
More than 13,000 people joined a Facebook page titled The Saudi People
Demand the Execution of Hamza Kashgari . Clerics joined in the call for blood with the demand that he be charged with apostasy, a religious offence punishable by death.
Jago Russell, the chief executive of the British charity Fair Trials
International, which has campaigned against the blanket enforcement of Interpol red notices, said:
Interpol should be playing no part in Saudi Arabia's pursuit of Hamza Kashgari, however unwise his comments on Twitter.
If an Interpol red notice is the reason for his arrest and detention it would be a serious abuse of this powerful international body that is supposed to respect basic human rights (including to peaceful free speech) and to be
barred from any involvement in religious or political cases.
Reports suggest that the Malaysian authorities intend to return him to his native country.
Update: Deportation shames Malaysia
February 2012. See article from bbc.co.uk
Saudi king arrests writer who abused the Prophet from
Malaysian authorities have deported a Saudi journalist accused of supposedly insulting Muhammad via a tweet saying:
have loved things about you and I have hated things about you and there is a lot I don't understand about you ... I will not pray for you.
Police confirmed to the BBC that Hamza Kashgari was sent back to Saudi Arabia on Sunday despite
protests from human rights groups.
The nature of the charges against the individual in this case are a matter for the Saudi Arabian authorities, Malaysia's home ministry said in a statement.
Amnesty International has warned that
Kashgari could be executed in Saudi Arabia if he is found guilty of apostasy.
If the Malaysian authorities hand over Hamza Kashgari to Saudi Arabia, they could end up complicit in any violations he suffers, said Hassiba Hadj Sahraoui of
Amnesty's Middle East division.
Kashgari is in big trouble as it was the the Saudi king, Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz, who ordered his arrest
Update: Trial by Religion
20th February 2012. See
Saudi Arabia's mufti, the country's highest religious figure, has rejected calls to shift the trial of a Twitter user, who was accused of blasphemy, from religious courts to the information ministry.
Shaikh Abdul Aziz Bin Abdullah Al Shaikh said
that Hamza Kashgari, charged of disrespecting God and insulting Mohammad in his Twitter account, will face trial in the country's religious-court only. The mufti claimed:
We are in a Muslim country and we have a fair
All matters related to justice should be reviewed by Shariah courts as God the Almighty said in the Holy Quran. The justice system in Saudi Arabia is fair.
22nd February 2012. See article from
It seems that the Malaysian authorities would have rather kept the arrest and deportation off the radar. However, the news began to spread. The authorities began trying to justify themselves and their intended actions.
suggested that the arrest was part of an Interpol initiative, though Interpol denied any knowledge of the matter.
Attempts were then made to characterise the affair as being part of an extradition exercise but Malaysia does not
have an extradition treaty with Saudi Arabia.
Lawyers were appointed and began efforts to meet their client and to secure his release. They appear to have been given the run-around or kept in the dark about the fact that the
authorities had already unilaterally decided to return Kashgari to Saudi Arabia. The procuring of an injunction from a High Court judge on Sunday to temporarily restrain the deportation came to nought; Kashgari had been deported earlier that morning
despite awareness of the intended legal challenge.
One cannot help but question the manner in which the Malaysian authorities conducted themselves. Malaysia was under no legal obligation to return the journalist to Saudi Arabia
and the two countries are not bound by an extradition treaty, meaning what Kashgari has done in Saudi Arabia is not of relevance in Malaysia. Kashgari had not committed any offence in Malaysia and had entered the country on a valid travel document. He
was not intending to stay in Malaysia; his final port of call was New Zealand.
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