RIYADH: A Saudi journalist accused of making Tweets deemed insulting to Prophet Mohammed (PBUH) was freed from detention yesterday after 20 months, a human rights activist said.
Hamza Kashgari fled Saudi Arabia to Malaysia in February 2012 after receiving death threats for Tweets he made on the occasion of the prophet’s birthday. The Malaysian authorities immediately sent him back to Saudi Arabia, where he was arrested and told he faced blasphemy charges, which carry the death penalty. His release was announced on social networking sites and confirmed by human rights activist Walid Abulkheir.
Israel to free more Palestinians
JERUSALEM: Israel yesterday was preparing to release 26 long-serving Palestinian prisoners, the second batch of 104 inmates who are to be freed in line with commitments to US-brokered peace talks.
The release, due to take place late at night, will see 21 prisoners going to their homes in the West Bank. The remaining five were being driven to a holding area on the Israeli side of the Erez crossing to the Hamas-run Gaza Strip, ahead of their release later, Israel Prisons Service spokeswoman Sivan Weizman said.
HRW slams Kuwaiti sentence on tweeter
KUWAIT CITY: Human Rights Watch yesterday strongly criticised a 10-year prison term handed to a Kuwaiti tweeter for religious insults and called on authorities to immediately release him.
“The ruling is another example of a violation of the right to free speech in Kuwait,” the New York-based HRW said in a statement. “Ten years in prison for peaceful criticism shows just how little Kuwait respects freedom of expression,” said Joe Stork, deputy Middle East director at HRW.
“Locking up critics isn’t going to make Kuwait’s political crisis go away.”
KHARTOUM: Sudanese authorities arrested seven university professors, a human rights lawyer said on Monday, extending a crackdown on opposition activists after fuel price increases touched off the country’s worst unrest for years.
The government cut fuel subsidies to ease a financial crunch aggravated by the secession of oil-producing South Sudan in 2011. The move doubled pump prices overnight and triggered violent protests in which dozens of people were killed and more than 700 people arrested. The seven academics were detained on Sunday evening as they met at Ahfad University in the capital, lawyer Nabeel Adeeb said. Agencies