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Saudi newspaper columnist could face death penalty after he insulted Prophet

Posted by on Feb. 12, 2012 at 2:39 PM
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Saudi newspaper columnist could face death penalty after he insulted Prophet Muhammad on Twitter

By DAVID GARDNER

Last updated at 7:00 PM on 12th February 2012

A newspaper columnist could be the first person to face the death penalty for remarks he made on Twitter after he was arrested for allegedly insulting the Prophet Muhammad.

Writer Hamza Kashgari fled his native Saudi Arabia for Malaysia after some Islamic clerics called for him to be put to death for his tweet.

But the 23-year-old was arrested as soon as he arrived in the Malaysian capital Kuala Lumpur on Thursday and was deported back to Saudi Arabia yesterday despite protests from human rights groups.

Hamza Kashgari fled his native Saudi Arabia for Malaysia after some Islamic clerics called for him to be put to death

Hamza Kashgari fled his native Saudi Arabia for Malaysia after some Islamic clerics called for him to be put to death

Mr Kashgari's controversial tweet caused uproar with more than 30,000 responses and a number of death threats.

Insulting the prophet is considered blasphemy in Islam and is punishable by death in Saudi Arabia. It is not a capital offence in Malaysia.

More than 13,000 people joined a Facebook page called, 'The Saudi People Demand the Execution of Hamza Kashgari'. 

The posting on the prophet's birthday revealed the writer's contradictory views about his faith.

He apologised and deleted the message, but left the country fearing his life was still in danger.

Mr Kashgari said in an interview that he was being made a 'scapecoat for a larger conflict' over his comments.

Hamza Kashgari's apology was posted on Twitter. His account has since been deleted, along with the offending tweets

Hamza Kashgari's apology was posted on Twitter. His account has since been deleted, along with the offending tweets

'I view my actions as part of a process towards freedom. I was demanding my right to practice the most basic human rights – the freedom of expression and thought – so nothing was done in vain,' he added.

The arrest raised questions about Interpol's involvement. The Malaysian authorities said Mr Kashgari was detained at the airport on his arrival in the country following a request by the international police cooperation agency on behalf of Saudi Arabia.

Jago Russell, chief executive of the British charity Fair Trials International, said yesterday that Interpol should not have been involved in the case, which is 'clearly of a religious nature.'



Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2100131/Saudi-newspaper-columnist-face-death-penalty-insulted-Prophet-Muhammad-Twitter.html#ixzz1mCKyZot8
by on Feb. 12, 2012 at 2:39 PM
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