Thursday, January 3, 2008

Bloggers in Saudi: Be Warned!

BLOGGER ARRESTED: Fouad Al Farhan (centre) was detained early December for violation of 'non-security regulations'. (

Authorities in Saudi Arabia have detained a popular blogger for violating “non-security regulations” in what is believed to be the first arrest of an online critic in the kingdom.

Fouad Al Farhan, a 32-year-old from Jeddah, was detained on December 10, according to statements by senior officials quoted in Saudi daily Arab News.

Major General Monsour Al Turki told the newspaper that Farhan was being questioned by the Interior Ministry, but did not give details of the arrest.

Farhan’s blog - Searching for freedom, dignity, justice, equality, shoura and all the rest of lost Islamic values - has since posted a letter, allegedly from Farhan, which states he believes he was arrested because he “wrote about political prisoners in Saudi Arabia”.

Farhan said that officials had tried to make him sign a letter of apology but he refused. He said he was targeted because he wrote about political prisoners that he believed to be wrongly incarcerated.

“An apology for what?” his letter reads. “Apologising because I said the government is [a] liar when it accused those people of supporting terrorism.”

Other popular bloggers said they believe Farhan’s arrest was an attempt by authorities to intimidate the online community.

Farhan’s family has sought help from the government's Human Rights Commission, the newspaper reported.

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