Plight of jailed blogger exaggerated by media
Saudi's deputy interior minister slates media for making such a big deal about detention.
The media "exaggerated" the plight of jailed Saudi blogger Fouad Al-Farhan, the kingdom’s Deputy Interior Minister Prince Ahmed said on Sunday.
Al-Farhan, 32, was released on Saturday after spending four months in a Jeddah prison, despite having no charges pressed against him.
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Before his December 10 arrest, Al-Farhan wrote to friends saying he expected to be detained for his writings about a group of reformists arrested in February 2007 for alleged links to terror funding. Al-Farhan had also criticised a number of influential Saudi figures as well as religious extremism in the kingdom.
However Price Ahmed said Al-Farhan had been arrested for mistakes he had committed, according to a report from Saudi Press Agency (SPA).
“The issue [of Al-Farhan] was not that important as it represented the mistake committed by a person on himself. A man who commits a mistake should bear its result,” the agency quoted Prince Ahmed.
Prince Ahmed did not confirm whether Al-Farhan had been released after his arrest four months ago.
However, Al-Farhan’s wife told Saudi daily Arab News on Saturday that he had been released from Jeddah’s Dahban Prison.
After his release, Al-Farhan told newswire AFP he was treated “fairly” while imprisoned but he would not comment on the reasons for his detention for now.
Al-Farhan’s arrest in the ultra-conservative Saudi Arabia drew calls for his release from the US government and sparked the launch of several campaigns and appeals for his release by international and Saudi NGOs, including the Arabic Network for Human Rights, Reporters Without Borders and the Committee to Protect Journalists.
His detention is believed to be the first arrest of an online critic in the kingdom.