Feeds

Saudis cuff 'outspoken' blogger

Held for 'purposes of interrogation'

The essential guide to IT transformation

The Saudi authorities have confirmed they are holding an "outspoken" blogger for "purposes of interrogation", the New York Times reports.

Fouad al-Farhan, 32, was cuffed on 10 December at his offices in Jidda, apparently because he "wrote about the political prisoners here in Saudi Arabia", according to a letter posted on his blog. It explains that the powers that be "think I’m running an online campaign promoting their issue", and adds: "All what I did is wrote some pieces and put side banners and asked other bloggers to do the same."

Farhan says the authorities requested he "sign an apology", but insists: "I’m not sure if I’m ready to do that. An apology for what? Apologizing because I said the government is liar when they accused those guys to be supporting terrorism?"

Interior Ministry spokesman General Mansour al-Turki told the New York Times that Farhan was "being questioned about specific violations of nonsecurity laws". He added: "The violation is not a security matter. He is not being jailed. He is being questioned, and I don’t believe he will remain in detention long. They will get the information that they need from him and then they will let him go."

Farhan's friend Ahmad al-Omran said his chum was "the first Saudi blogger to be detained by state security" and that his detention had created "widespread anxiety among other Saudi bloggers and advocates".

He explained: "An incident like this has its effect. It’s intimidating to think you might be arrested for something on your blog. On the other hand, this means that these voices on the blogosphere are being heard. But it’s really sad that a blogger who is writing about important issues out in the open would get arrested, while there are extremists who call for violence and hate, and the government is not doing much."

Farhan's blog is, the New York Times says, "one of the most widely read in Saudi Arabia". It calls for "freedom, dignity, justice, equality, public participation and the other lost Islamic values", and while Farhan is offline, friends are using it to mount a "Free Fouad" campaign. ®

The essential guide to IT transformation

More from The Register

next story
GCHQ protesters stick it to British spooks ... by drinking urine
Activists told NOT to snap pics of staff at the concrete doughnut
Britain's housing crisis: What are we going to do about it?
Rent control: Better than bombs at destroying housing
What do you mean, I have to POST a PHYSICAL CHEQUE to get my gun licence?
Stop bitching about firearms fees - we need computerisation
Top beak: UK privacy law may be reconsidered because of social media
Rise of Twitter etc creates 'enormous challenges'
Redmond resists order to hand over overseas email
Court wanted peek as related to US investigation
Ex US cybersecurity czar guilty in child sex abuse website case
Health and Human Services IT security chief headed online to share vile images
NZ Justice Minister scalped as hacker leaks emails
Grab your popcorn: Subterfuge and slur disrupts election run up
prev story

Whitepapers

Endpoint data privacy in the cloud is easier than you think
Innovations in encryption and storage resolve issues of data privacy and key requirements for companies to look for in a solution.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Advanced data protection for your virtualized environments
Find a natural fit for optimizing protection for the often resource-constrained data protection process found in virtual environments.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Next gen security for virtualised datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.