Lumpur: Hamza Kashgari, a Saudi blogger who caused
outrage in the Gulf kingdom with comments on twitter deemed
insulting to the Prophet Muhammad, has been arrested by Malaysian
Hamza Kashgari had earlier fled
Saudi Arabia following calls for his execution. He was
headed to New Zealand where he hoped to gain political asylum when
he was arrested upon arrival at Kuala Lumpur International Airport
A police spokesman confirmed to the Reuters news agency that
Malaysian police had detained the 23-year-old columnist.
"This arrest was part of an Interpol operation which the Malaysian
police were a part of," said the spokesman.
No further details were provided on whether the writer from the
western city of Jeddah would be extradited to Saudi Arabia.
An official with the Malaysian home ministry who asked to remain
unidentified told the AFP news agency that though Malaysia and
Saudi Arabia have no formal extradition treaties, Kashgari could
be extradited under other bilateral security
Clerics and locals in the kingdom have called for Kashgari's death
for three comments he made on the micro-blogging service on the
occasion of the Prophet Muhammad's birthday.
All three tweets were later deleted by Kashgari, who received over
30,000 responses within a day of the postings.
Kashgari, who had originally apologised for his comments, said in
an interview he was being made a "scapegoat for a larger conflict"
over his comments.
He has since then also deleted his twitter account.
Blasphemy is a crime punishable by execution under Saudi Arabia's
strict interpretation of Islamic sharia law.
It is not a capital crime in Malaysia.