On December tenth, Saudi blogger Fouad al-Farhan was detained for questioning by the Saudi Interior Ministry. In a case that has invoked international condemnation, possible charges against Farhan have not been elaborated on, except for a brief statement by a Ministry spokesman, stating that, Farhan was detained "for violating rules not related to state security." Farhan has not been released and has not had contact with friends or family.
Fouad al-Farhan (center)
Farhan's marks the first arrest for blogging in the Saudi kingdom, where citizens do not have rights regarding freedom of speech. The case is also unusual because most Saudi bloggers do not blog under their legal names, whereas Farhan used his public personae as the owner of a Jiddah based software development company to bolster his arguments. Farhan himself knew that the detention was imminent, having been informed by a member of the Interior Ministry that his support for a group of men held without trial and charge was not acceptable. In a letter to friends Farhan stated that he expected to be jailed for about three days, due to an order from an unnamed, high-ranking, Interior Ministry official.
As a Saudi blogger Farhan had before met with government disapproval. In 2006 he dissolved a group that was meant to protect bloggers' rights, after the government threatened him.
Read Fouad al-Farhan's blog here .
Via: The Washington Post
Middle Eastern Innovations Writer