Saudi blogger’s supporters could be summoned by public prosecutor

Jeddah’s public prosecutor are likely to summon those that supported or agreed with Hamza Kashgari
Hamza Kashgari, the former Al Bilad columnist, wrote a series of Tweets of an imaginary conversation with the Prophet Mohammad.
By Claire Ferris-Lay
Tue 14 Feb 2012 11:19 AM

Supporters of the Saudi blogger who was arrested over Twitter comments he made that were deemed insulting to the Prophet Mohammad could be summoned by the public prosecutor, Saudi media has reported.

Public prosecutors in Jeddah are likely to summon people that supported or agreed with Hamza Kashgari, a columnist who sparked outrage in the conservative Gulf state after posting comments on the social network on Prophet's Mohammad birthday anniversary.

“The public prosecutor in Jeddah is filing a lawsuit against Hamza Kashgari on charges of disrespecting God and insulting Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) in his Twitter account,” Al Hayat said, quoting an unnamed source

Saudi daily, Arab News said “a number of Saudis have called for the trial of all those who tweeted support for Kashgari, saying they were equally guilty.”

“Those who supported the contents of Kashgari's tweets are considered criminal exactly like him,” Khaled Abu Rashid, a lawyer and a legal consultant, told the newspaper.  The sentence to be passed on Kashgari should be imposed on his supporters too, he said.

Malaysian authorities on Sunday deported the 23-year-old blogger after he tried to flee Saudi Arabia following death threats triggered by his comments on the social network.

The former Al Bilad columnist wrote a series of Tweets of an imaginary conversation with the Prophet Mohammad, which elicited more than 30,000 responses in less than 24-hours and several death threats.  The comments have since been deleted and Kashgari has apologised.

Amnesty International warned that Kashgari could be executed in Saudi Arabia if he is found guilty of apostasy. “If the Malaysian authorities hand over Hamza Kashgari to Saudi Arabia, they could end up complicit in any violations he suffers,” said Hassiba Hadj Sahraoui of Amnesty’s Middle East division.

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