Sunday, February 24, 2008

Jailed blogger in solitary confinement, family says

Jailed Saudi blogger Fouad Al Farhan is being kept in solitary confinement and subjected to daily questioning, according to his family.

Al Farhan's mother said Saudi authorities allowed her son to briefly telephone his family from Jeddah’s Dahban Prison on February 12, his first contact since his father-in-law was allowed a short visit on January 5.

Despite his on-going imprisonment, Al Farhan told his mother he was "all right, and that he was not being harassed".
His family’s requests for further visits have been denied, and it is unclear whether he has received access to legal assistance.

Al Farhan, a popular Saudi blogger, was arrested in Jeddah on December 10, but has not been informed of the charges against him. His detention is believed to be the first arrest of an online critic in the kingdom.

The authorities are believed to be holding Al Farhan for his online criticism of government policies, including detentions without charge and trial of prisoners of conscience.

These criticisms include the government’s ongoing detention of nine men arrested in February last year after calling for government reform.

Mansour Al Turki, spokesman for the Interior Ministry, said earlier this month that there was no update on the Al-Farhan case other than his previous statement that he was being held for interrogation for violating non-security regulations.

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

His arrest and imprisonment has sparked the launch of several campaigns and appeals for his release by international and Saudi NGOs, including the Arabic Network for Human Rights, Reporters without Borders and the Committee to Protect Journalists.

1 comment:

chase / chubz said...

a blogger arrested? talk about freedom huh?
kawawa man. i can just imagine how limited the editorial section of the ksa newpapers.