Saudi Arabia frees man jailed 20 months for Mohammad tweets – sources

By Reuters Staff
October 29, 2013

(Saudi blogger Hamza Kashgari/photo issued by Kashgari)

A Saudi blogger was freed on Tuesday, 20 months after he was detained for publishing an imaginary conversation with Islam’s Prophet Mohammad on Twitter, his friend and a lawyer said, though there was no confirmation from the government.

Hamza Kashgari fled Saudi Arabia for Malaysia in February last year after his tweets enraged some conservative Muslims and triggered death threats. He was extradited back to the kingdom days later and imprisoned.

“He was freed this morning,” the 24-year-old’s friend told Reuters, but declined to comment further. Prominent human rights lawyer Abdulrahman Allahim congratulated Kashgari on his release on Twitter.

Saudi Arabia and other Gulf Arab states have grown increasingly sensitive to criticism of senior officials, ruling family members and clerics, and to comments they regard as blasphemous, particularly on social media.
Read the full story by Angus McDowall here.

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