Annual Prison Census 2012 - Saudi Arabia
|Publisher||Committee to Protect Journalists|
|Publication Date||11 December 2012|
|Cite as||Committee to Protect Journalists, Annual Prison Census 2012 - Saudi Arabia, 11 December 2012, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/50c7027dc.html [accessed 12 July 2014]|
Journalists in prison as of December 1, 2012
Saudi Arabia: 4
Hamza Kashgari, freelance
Imprisoned: February 12, 2012
Kashgari, 23, a poet and a columnist for the Jeddah-based daily Al-Bilad, came under fire after posting comments on his Twitter account that described a fanciful conversation in which he addressed the Prophet Muhammad as an equal. Facing death threats, he fled Saudi Arabia for Malaysia only to be arrested and extradited back home. He faced charges of "disrespecting God" and "insulting the Prophet," which could bring the death penalty upon conviction.
Although he deleted the postings within hours and issued a public apology, a Facebook page calling for his execution attracted more than 30,000 members. More than 25,000 people signed a petition seeking his release. Kashgari was being held in a Riyadh prison pending trial in late year.
Habib Ali al-Maatiq, Al-Fajr Cultural Network
Imprisoned: February 22, 2012
Hussein Malik al-Salam, Al-Fajr Cultural Network
Imprisoned: February 23, 2012
Security forces arrested al-Maatiq and al-Salam, managers of the news website Al-Fajr Cultural Network, in the city of Jubail in connection with the site's coverage of pro-reform protests in Eastern Province, news outlets reported. The two were being held without charge in a prison in Dammam, the capital of Eastern Province, news reports said.
Al-Fajr Cultural Network covered pro-reform protests in the predominantly Shia region, which has faced discrimination and repression at the hands of the government, local journalists told CPJ. The website, which was taken down after the journalists were arrested, has also published sermons by Shia sheiks who support the protests.
The kingdom has obstructed coverage of Eastern Province protests, which call for political reforms and greater rights for the country's Shia minority, CPJ research shows. No international or local journalists have been allowed to enter the province, and in the absence of independent reporting, coverage of the unrest is carried out by websites such as Al-Fajr Cultural Network.
Jalal Mohamed al-Jamal, Al-Awamia
Imprisoned: February 25, 2012
Security forces arrested al-Jamal, manager of the news website Al-Awamia, in the city of Al-Qatif and took him to an undisclosed location, local journalists told CPJ. A local journalist said al-Jamal had been broadly accused of anti-state activity, but the charges had not been made public as of late year.
Al-Awamia, which became inaccessible after al-Jamal's arrest, covered pro-reform demonstrations in the predominantly Shia Eastern Province and was known for its criticism of the government, according to news reports.
The kingdom has obstructed coverage of Eastern Province protests, which call for political reforms and greater rights for the country's Shia minority, CPJ research shows. No international or local journalists have been allowed to enter the province.