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Blogger detained, beaten, arrested

(ANHRI/IFEX) - The following is a 9 November 2008 ANHRI press release:

Kingdom of Saudi Arabia: Members of the Hisba apparatus arrest and beat up a blogger for a poem

The Arabic Network for Human Rights Information (ANHRI) reported today that blogger Roshdi Algadir was arrested by the Hisba apparatus in Saudi Arabia on 4th November. He was taken from his place of work in Al-Dammam city, held for three hours, beaten up and forced to sign an agreement never again to publish his work on the internet. The reason behind the attack is a poem that Algadir has posted on his blog:

Roshdi Algadir, winner of an international award for his collections of poetry, had posted some of them on his blog. Following this he was surprised by members of the Hisba apparatus who snatched him from his work, beat him and accused him of apostasy.

Algadir is insistent that poetry should only be subject to the critiques of literature, but the way he was arrested confirms the insistence of the apparatus to act against the interests of freedom of expression in the name of religious repression.

Gamal Eid, executive director of ANHRI stated: "The members of the Hisba apparatus threaten the legal system and all the citizen's rights in the name of protecting the Islamic religion. The existence of this apparatus is an insult to Islam, depicting it as it does, as anti freedom of speech and anti freedom of expression."

ANHRI hopes that the ministry of the interior investigates the complaint raised by the blogger concerning his arrest and attack.

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