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Saudi blogger held in Malaysia for insulting Islam

Friday February 10, 2012 05:44:35 PM, Agencies

Kuala 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 police.

 

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 on Thursday.

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
agreements.

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.


 



 


 

 

 

 

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