Monday, April 28, 2008


Jailed Saudi blogger Fouad Al Farhan has finally been freed after more than four months behind bars without charge, a colleague said on Saturday.

Al Farhan was arrested in Jeddah on December 10 for online criticism of government policies, including detentions without charge and trial of prisoners of conscience.

It is believed to be the first arrest of an online critic in the kingdom.
During his ordeal at Jeddah’s Dahban Prison, Al Farhan was kept in solitary confinement and subjected to daily questioning, according to his family.

Authorities allowed Al Farhan's father-in-law was allowed a short visit on January 5 and his mother was permitted a brief telephone call on February 12, according to local media reports.

Al-Farhan’s blog - 'Searching for freedom, dignity, justice, equality, Shura 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.

Meanwhile, the first conference in the Middle East on blogging and consumer-generated or social media, as the region addresses how to catch up with Europe and the US in terms of platforms, adoption and available content, will be held in Jordan in June.

iBlog…iMedia will highlight the role of blogs and social media in changing the media landscape, bringing together international and local commentators, marketers, bloggers and media owners to examine how companies can contribute to, and gain from new developments.

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