Saudi blogger Fouad Al-Farhan arrested

23 Dec, '07

Saudi blogger Fouad Al-FarhanFouad Al-Farhan is one of a very few Saudi bloggers who chooses to blog under their own name, publishes his picture and challenges the establishment with utter bravery has been arrested in Saudi.

This is not Fouad’s first altercation with the authorities there. His blog has been banned in Saudi in February 2007. He resumed writing in July 2007 against almost continuous harassment. It was reported that he has been led from his office in Jeddah without any reason given.

If the reason for his arrest is due to his writing, then this is obviously a gross violation of an individual’s basic human right to freedom of expression. I call on the Saudi authorities to respect their role in the world and immediately release Fouad Al-Farhan and call on them to guarantee his safety throughout his detention.

Hang in there Fouad, you have a lot of friends with you. I applaud your determination to speak your mind for the better of our community.

Filed in: Human Rights
Tagged with:

Comments (27)

Trackback URL | Comments RSS Feed

  1. Rob Wagner says:

    My thoughts are with him as he keeps the strength to endure these trying times.

    http://13martyrs.blogspot.com/

  2. Lee Ann says:

    I just dont understand the arab leaders/governments complete aversion to their peoples right to speak their minds. Its the same in every arab/islamic country…speak ill of your leaders(who have usually put themselves there and not been elected by the people) and you risk imprisonment or worse…whats up with that? What happen to the good old days when leaders would prowl around at night incognito listening to peoples complaints and then do something to fix them?

  3. Esra'a says:

    What happen to the good old days when leaders would prowl around at night incognito listening to peoples complaints and then do something to fix them?

    Good old days?

    When did this ever happen in our region?

  4. doncox says:

    “leaders would prowl around at night”____That only happened in fairy tales. In real life, those who hold power by force want to hear nothing but praise and agreement with all their plans.

  5. milter says:

    I feel sorry for Fouad and his family. He and his family should have been able to enjoy the tranquillity and peace of Eid al-Adha. Instead he was left with the thoughts about when they’d be picking him up.

    I don’t know Fouad and I don’t know what kind of ideas he promotes. That doesn’t really matter, either. The fact is, he was arrested for expressing his ideas publicly. And those ideas, apparently, upset the ideas of the rulers.

    I realize I am now venturing into an area that will upset a lot of people. I realize that some of you will get very angry. I have seen that happen several times in discussions about this subject, even in my own country. It is the discussion about the role and position of religion in our daily life.

    No matter what anybody says, no ruler in the Arab/Islamic world can hold on to his power if he goes against the principles of the religious leaders in his country.

    That can only be changed if a majority of the population objects to the ideas of the religious loudspeakers.

    Get rid of them. Ridicule them. Confront them with the failures they have caused.

    Maybe then a path will open to a more open society in The Middle East.

  6. Freedom for Fuad says:

    I suggest we all partake in a campaign to bring International media attention to this arrest. I am suggesting all readers to start posting comments to international news organizations feedback sections to encourage them to pick up the story. I will post, as a follow up message, a text that can be used for those who cannot write well in English. However, I encourage you to write your own if you have the ability as the variety makes it more authentic. Also, I ask for a volunteer to translate my message and post it in Arabic blogs.

    Here are some links for News organizations where the text letter can be posted:

    CNN international
    http://www.cnn.com/feedback/forms/form1.html?47

    BBC News
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/newswatch/ifs/hi/newsid_4000000/newsid_4000500/4000545.stm

    Fox News Tip page
    http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,77538,00.html

    Reuters
    http://reuters-en.custhelp.com/cgi-bin/reuters_en.cfg/php/enduser/ask.php?p_sid=fsR9w1Ui&p_lva=&p_li=&p_accessibility=&p_redirect=&p_page=1&p_cv=&p_cats=&p_hidden_prods=&p_new_search=1&p_prod_lvl1=&p_pv=2.47&p_prods=19%2C47&prod_lvl1=19&prod_lvl2=47&p_masthead=us

  7. Freedom for Fuad says:

    Suggested letter text:
    Dear Editor,
    Recently one of the top Saudi bloggers was arrested by the Saudi Authorities. Fuad Al-Farhan was arrested on Dec 11, 2007 and so far no charges have been brought against him. It is highly likely that Fuad was arrested for exercising his freedom of speech. Fuad wrote a letter to his friends prior to his arrest indicating that the Saudi authorities were about to arrest him for an article on his blog.
    I am writing you to suggest a story to highlight the issues of freedom of speech in the country and specifically the plight of Mr. Al-Farhan.
    The text of the letter written by Fuad prior to his arrest along with its English translation can be found on the link: http://www.alfarhan.org/
    Additional info can be found on this link to or through a google search on Fouad Al-Farhan to see all blog posts on the topic: http://freefouad.com/
    Thank you for your attention.

  8. Than goodness for people like Fouad!
    I started a Wikipedia page but I am not very proficient with Wikipedia and it still needs a lot of work.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fouad_El_Farhan

  9. Ethan says:

    I just dont understand the arab leaders/governments complete aversion to their peoples right to speak their minds. Its the same in every arab/islamic country…speak ill of your leaders(who have usually put themselves there and not been elected by the people) and you risk imprisonment or worse…whats up with that?

    It has been the same since the time of Mohammed. Except for short periods of intellectual freedom, the free-thinking human minds of the Middle East have been crushed by those who want to control their followers’ beliefs, religion and thoughts.

  10. steve the american says:

    If you want the Western media to pick up this story, you need more details. What is Fuad Al-Farhan writing, why was he arrested before, and why was he arrested this time? Who, what, when, where, why? Details, details, details.

    If you can’t convince a committed critic of Saudi Arabia to take up your cause, you are going to have trouble persuading casual critics of Saudi Arabia to take notice. Saudi Arabia is rightly viewed as evil by most Americans, except those taking pay to defend it. This should be an easy sell.

  11. voyer says:

    Apart from the already mentioned links, surprisingly this story is already hitting western media.
    http://www.pcworld.com/article/id,140901/article.html?tk=nl_dnxnws

    Ok, so this is only the PC WORLD feed, but their sources are quite wide and you can grab the links. How fast it spreads is probably down to what else is in the news and at the moment it would have to be something pretty big to cut through the Pakistan troubles. Also, half the press around here will NOT carry this story.
    For example and totally unrelated: The world never picked up on the chap in Bilad Al Khadeem who prints T-shirts for Saudi and removes the ‘cross’ on the Barcelona football team’s logo as if nobody will notice. The Shiite owner thinks it stupid as far as we can assess but says: ‘If you don’t do this it will be the last thing you do, they will cut you’, as he gestures with a finger across his neck. So far only some Spanish are a little up in arms about it, so somehow the story trickles out albeit they are accusing manufacturers in Egypt and Algeria (I believe) when it is right here in homeland Two Seas.
    Now in relation to this story, mention that the Burg Al Arab in Dubai went through a similar fiasco because it looked like a cross and must never be photographed at certain angles etc. However, bring this issue up in any comments you might make to any press outlet in the U.A.E (particularly Arabian Business.com) and your comments will be edited out with absolutely no mention of such an incident.
    Here we have good ole’ Mahmood who lets it all hang out. Thank goodness!

  12. Emir says:

    When Fouad’s right to express his view in a civilized manner is violated, then the right of all of us to hear his view is violated at the same time!!! Hasbuna’Llahu wa ni`ma’l Wakeel!

    Censorship reflects society’s lack of confidence in itself. It is a hallmark of an authoritarian regime. ~Potter Stewart

    Censorship reflects society’s lack of confidence in itself. It is a hallmark of an authoritarian regime. ~Potter Stewart

    What progress we are making. In the Middle Ages they would have burned me. Now they are content with burning my books. ~Sigmund Freud, 1933

    Wherever they burn books they will also, in the end, burn human beings. ~Heinrich Heine, Almansor, 1823

    The test of democracy is freedom of criticism. ~David Ben-Gurion

    If all mankind minus one were of one opinion, mankind would be no more justified in silencing that one person than he, if he had the power, would be justified in silencing mankind. ~John Stuart Mill, On Liberty, 1859

    To limit the press is to insult a nation; to prohibit reading of certain books is to declare the inhabitants to be either fools or slaves. ~Claude-Adrien Helvétius

    We are not afraid to entrust the American people with unpleasant facts, foreign ideas, alien philosophies, and competitive values. For a nation that is afraid to let its people judge the truth and falsehood in an open market is a nation that is afraid of its people. ~John F. Kennedy

  13. mahmood says:

    The Washington Post picked up the story with a report from Fayza Ambah. Well done.

  14. AbuJoori says:

    The WP reported on Fouad’s case as well as Arab News the Saudi newspaper published from Jeddah in English. The details of the reports can be considered positive since the mentioned that Fouad is officially not charged with any security related issues. Today, Al-Arabiya TV channel website translated the Arab News report and published it in Arabic. For me, allowing the media in Saudi Arabia to talk about the issue reflects some good chances of releasing Fouad soon.

    Thanks to Mahmoud and many other bloggers who spread the word, I am sure it made an impact.

  15. mahmood says:

    The New York Times is carrying it too, with this “reassuring” note:

    “The violation is not a security matter,” General Turki said. “He is not being jailed. He is being questioned, and I don’t believe he will remain in detention long. They will get the information that they need from him and then they will let him go.”

    I’m not sure what information they want from him that takes about a month to deliver. A nuclear scientist can pour everything in his brain in less time!

  16. effendi says:

    Saudi blogger may soon be freed

    I hope the world wide instant pressure worked. Just like the Qatif Girl, they buckle.

Back to Top