News

March 21, 2006 - Updated on January 20, 2016

Mohsen al-Awajy freed


Reporters Without Borders and the Arabic Network for Human Rights Information wrote to King Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz today asking him to intervene on behalf of Mohsen al-Awajy, who was arrested on 10 March for criticising the Saudi authorities, especially labour minister Ghazi Algosaibi, on the Wasatyah.com website. The letter also urged him to lift the filtering of the news websites Alwifaq.net and Elaph.com.
Reporters Without Borders and the Arabic Network for Human Rights welcomed the release today of Mohsen al-Awajy, who was arrested on 10 March for criticising the Saudi government on the Internet. The two organisations wrote to King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz al-Saud on 16 March calling for him to be freed. “We hope his release is a sign that the Saudi authorities are becoming aware of the need to respect a diversity of views on the Internet,” the two organisations said today. ----------------------- 16.03.06 Letter to King Abdullah about his government's Internet policies Reporters Without Borders and the Arabic Network for Human Rights Information wrote to King Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz today asking him to intervene on behalf of Mohsen al-Awajy, who was arrested on 10 March for criticising the Saudi authorities, especially labour minister Ghazi Algosaibi, on the Wasatyah.com website. The letter also urged him to lift the filtering of the news websites Alwifaq.net and Elaph.com. An Islamist site, Alwifaq.net was reportedly filtered after it published articles criticising the Saudi government's filtering policies. It' is currently closed for technical reasons. Elaph.com is a liberal news site that is very popular in the Arab world. The text of the letter follows : "Your Majesty, Reporters Without Borders, an organisation that defends press freedom worldwide, and the Arabic Network for Human Rights Information, an Arab human rights organisation, would like to express their concern about Saudi Arabia's policies towards online free expression. We firstly believe that the Internet Service Unit (ISU), a Saudi government entity, filters the Internet in an abusive way. We especially condemn the blocking of the news websites Alwifaq.net and Elaph.com and we ask you to intervene to have them reopened in Saudia Arabia. In general, we hold that it is unacceptable to filter access to a news site unless it explicitly calls for violence. We deplore the fact that the ISU is able on its own to censor an online publication. It seems to use that such a decision, at least when a news website is involved, should be taken by a judge in an independent procedure, and that those responsible for the online publication should be given a chance to appeal against any filtering decision. We also firmly condemn the continuing detention of Mohsen al-Awajy, who was arrested on 10 March for publishing articles criticising the Saudi government on the Wasatyah.com website. We are opposed to any form of imprisonment for the expression of dissident views. We therefore ask you to intervene to obtain the release of Mr. Al-Awajy, who in our opinion is being held arbitrarily. Finally, we would like to draw your attention to the importance of guaranteeing online freedom of expression in your country. The Internet is a powerful medium for economic development but it is also one in which there must be room for a diversity of views. We trust you will give our requests your careful consideration. Sincerely," Letter signed by Robert Ménard, Secretary-General of Reporters Without Borders and Gamal Eid, Executive Director of the Arabic Network for Human Rights Information. The Arabic Network for Human Rights Information : www.hrinfo.net ------------- Create your blog with Reporters without borders: www.rsfblog.org