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Sat 3 Nov 2012 10:32 AM

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Saudis urged to act on detained tweeter

Human Rights Watch says authorities must 'immediately charge or release' detainee

Saudis urged to act on detained tweeter

An international human rights group has called on Saudi authorities to "immediately charge or release" Mohammed Salama, a dual US and Saudi citizen detained without charge since April.

Human Rights Watch said Salama was arrested at his home on April 30 after he posted several tweets criticising interpretations of the sayings of the Prophet Muhammad, also known as the hadith, on his personal twitter account.

The rights group said judiciary officials have neither publicly announced any charges against Salama nor suggested that he may be guilty of any commonly recognisable criminal offence.

“Neither Salama nor his family have been informed of any accusations against him,” said Joe Stork, deputy Middle East director at Human Rights Watch.

“No one should languish in prison without charge, especially for expressing a peaceful opinion.”

According to Salama’s family, there is no record of his detention or of any charges being brought against him, he added.

Article 144 of the 2002 Saudi Law of Criminal Procedure places a six-month limit on the period that detainees can be held without charge, after which they must be charged or released.

Salama completed six months in detention without charge on October 30.

In September, his family contacted the Bureau of Investigation and Public Prosecution and was told that an investigation into Salama’s case was continuing.

In March, Salama published tweets questioning conventional interpretations of some passages of the hadith, and making comments about hadiths in online discussions.

He also posted a video on YouTube criticising a cleric for his political views. Unidentified online commentators subsequently called for his arrest and execution.

Human Rights Watch said another Saudi has been in custody for his tweets discussing religion since February 12. Saudi authorities arrested and detained Hamza Kashgari immediately after Malaysia extradited him, despite pleas by human rights organizations not to send him back to Saudi Arabia.

Kashgari had posted messages on his Twitter account that top Saudi government clerics said constituted apostasy.

“Salama’s case is a sad example of the way that Saudi authorities hold detainees for extended periods of time without charge and in violation of major human rights standards,” Stork said.

“Authorities have shown no evidence that he did anything more than express his opinion peacefully. He should be released immediately.”

Salman 7 years ago

Again the useless Human rights organisations at their hypocritical best. They are worried about just one tweeter whereas they have virtually turned a blind eye to the ethnic cleansing of burmese muslims. Hundreds of Muslims being butchered and burned alive in Burma and they dont even make a statement against the burmese military regime.

BoredWithThis 7 years ago

@Salman, the useless and hypocritical HRW has this to say about Burma:
Burma: New Violence in Arakan State
The government of Burma should take immediate steps to stop sectarian violence against the Rohingya Muslim population in Arakan State, in western Burma, and ensure protection and aid to both Rohingyas and Arakanese in the state.
You can read it here

You really did not make a big effort checking before posting.

Salman 7 years ago

@boredwiththis.. couple of useless statement by the organisation doesnt make a sense.. HRW are virtually witch hunting the middle-easetern countries for so called labour right and what not..and they did not do anything for the 50 years genocide in Burma.

I think the human genocide in Burma deserves more highlight then couple of line in the newspaper. don't you ?