Saudi Blogger Arrested

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...Fouad al-Farhan is Saudi Arabia’s most popular blogger and last month he was arrested. His case has been taken up by over 200 Saudi bloggers. The Independent newspaper in the UK believes attempts by the Saudi authorities to intimidate their online critics is in fact had the reverse effect, and says ‘it will be fascinating to see where this online insurrection ends’. ...

and from the Independent:
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Blogger who dared to expose Saudi corruption is arrested
By Claire Soares
Published: 03 January 2008
Fouad al-Farhan knew they were coming for him. A few days before Saudi security forces swooped on his offices, he sent a letter to friends telling them he was a wanted man. "They will pick me up any time in the next two weeks," he predicted.

His crime? Writing one of the most widely read blogs in Saudi Arabia.

Mr Farhan, 32, who describes his online mission as "searching for freedom, dignity, justice, equality, public participation and other lost Islamic values", had already broken ground by refusing to hide behind a pen-name as he vented his spleen about the rampant corruption blighting political life. Now he has clocked up another first – the first blogger to be arrested in the kingdom.

The blogger was picked up on 10 December from the offices of his computer company in Jeddah, but it was not until this week that the interior ministry finally confirmed his arrest.


Mr Farhan said he had been asked to issue an apology. "I'm not sure if I'm ready to do that," he said. "An apology for what? Apologising because I said the government is [a] liar when it accused those guys of supporting terrorism?" [emphasis mine]

It is interesting to note that the President of the USA, Mr. George W. Bush just made (January 2008) a $20 billion weapons deal with the Government of Saudi Arabia...

Dear President Bush, is this what you mean by promoting Democracy? It seems that the freedom to which you aspire is just the freedom to amass weapons. I am discouraged by your example.

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