Reporters Without Borders condemns the government's silence on the situation of blogger Fouad Al-Farhan, 32, who has been in Jeddah prison since 10 December when he was arrested by interior ministry officials over some of the entries in his blog.
Reporters Without Borders condemns the government's silence on the situation of blogger Fouad Al-Farhan, 32, who has been in Jeddah prison since 10 December when he was arrested by interior ministry officials over some of the entries in his blog. “We reiterate our call for the release of Farhan, who has been held arbitrarily ‘for questioning' for two months without any proper explanation from the government,” the press freedom organisation said. “We know nothing about the conditions in which he is now being held. The various appeals from human rights organisation and the protests on the international blogosphere have been unsuccessful. We urge the authorities to respect Farhan's rights and to allow visits by his family and a lawyer.” There has been no answer to the letter which Reporters Without Borders and the Arabic Network for Human Rights Information (HRinfo) sent to King Abdallah ben Abdel Aziz Ibn Saud on 10 January asking why Farhan was being held. Similarly, the Farhan family has had no reply to the letter it wrote in December to the Saudi Arabia Human Rights Commission asking it to seek his release. Farhan's father-in-law was able to visit him on 5 January. He was then in solitary confinement and was being questioned for 15 minutes a day. Since then, all of the family's requests for visits have been turned down. Article 119 of the Saudi law of criminal procedure allows a judge to prevent a detainee from speaking to any other detainee or from receiving any visit for up to 60 days if this helps the investigation. One of the few Saudi bloggers not to use a pseudonym, Farhan is very well known in the kingdom. A demonstration is due to be held outside the Saudi embassy in Washington tomorrow, coinciding with the start of a week-long Internet campaign entitled “We are all Fouads.” Access to more than 400,000 websites hosted in Saudi Arabia and abroad are currently blocked in the kingdom, especially sites specialising in human rights and civil liberties. Censorship is defended in the name of the protection of Islamic moral obligations. Call for his release and sign the petition More on the "We are all Fouads" campain