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Blogger and human rights activist arrested

(ANHRI/IFEX) - The Arabic Network for Human Rights Information (ANHRI) condemns the continued arbitrary detention of human rights activist and blogger Sultan Khulaifi, owner of the blog http://binkhaleefa.blogspot.com .

Security force personnel stormed Khulaifi's house in Doha on 1 March 2011. They searched his house and car and then forcibly took him to an unknown location. They informed his wife that they were acting on orders from the attorney general, despite the absence of any such order. The reason for the arrest has not been made public.

It is, however, suspected that Khulaifi was arrested against the backdrop of his human rights activities in support of freedom and democracy on his blog. The arrest constitutes a flagrant violation of the right to freedom of expression and an unacceptable breach of national legislation and international treaties and obligations.

ANHRI said, "The Internet has become the primary enemy of all Arab governments, now being the key player for organizing protests and revolutions in the Arab region. After the success of the revolutions in Egypt and Tunisia, other governments are hopelessly trying to suppress Internet activists and silence their voices. This incident is an indication that the Internet hostility rash has spread to Qatar."

ANHRI advises Qatari authorities to refrain from further suppressing Internet activists, as its neighbours have done. What has been happening in the Arab world clearly indicates that repression is not the way to deal with activists, but rather that rational dialogue is the only possible path.

ANHRI urges the Qatari authorities to release Khulaifi immediately. No charges have been laid against him and he has not committed any crime, but rather has simply made use of his legitimate right to freedom of expression.

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