Documento - Saudi Arabia: Man might face death penalty for tweets: Hamza Kashgari

URGENT ACTION

UA: 48/12 Index: MDE 23/002/2012 Saudi Arabia Date: 13 February 2012

URGENT ACTION

man might FACe DEATH PENALTY FOR TWEETs

Saudi Arabian national Hamza Kashgari risks being charge d of apostasy , punishable by death , for remarks he posted on Twitter. He was forcibly returned to Saudi Arabia on 12 February from Malaysia, after he had left the country amid death threats for the posts. He is now in detention in Saudi Arabia .

Hamza Kashgari was arrested in Malaysia on 9 February 2012 and was held in an unknown location without being granted access to a lawyer. Since his forcible return to Saudi Arabia, he has been held in a detention facility at the Ministry of Interior in Riyadh, the capital of Saudi Arabia. He has been allowed contact with his family.

It was reported that shortly after Hamza Kashgari’s arrival in Saudi Arabia, a state prosecutor from Jeddah, Hamza Kashgari’s hometown, requested permission from the head of Bureau of Investigation and Prosecution to file a case against Hamza Kashgari. He also called for others who have replied in encouragement or agreement to Hamza Kashgari’s Twitter remarks to be prosecuted.

Amnesty International considers Hamza Kashgari to be a prisoner of conscience arrested solely for exercising his right to freedom of expression, and that his arrest, detention and possible prosecution as well as that of others who responded are incompatible with basic human rights enshrined in international conventions.

Please write immediately in Arabic, English or your own language:

Urging the King of Saudi Arabia to revoke the order to arrest Hamza Kashgari and ensure he is released immediately and unconditionally and any prosecution procedure dropped;

Granting him immediate access to a lawyer of his choosing and the right to be assisted by his lawyer including during his questioning.

PLEASE SEND APPEALS BEFORE 2 6 MARCH 2012 TO:

King

His Majesty King Abdullah Bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud

The Custodian of the two Holy Mosques

Office of His Majesty the King

Royal Court, Riyadh

Kingdom of Saudi Arabia

Salutation: Your Majesty

Crown Prince and Minister of the Interior

His Royal Highness Prince Naif bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud

Ministry of the Interior, P.O. Box 2933, Airport Road

Riyadh 11134

Kingdom of Saudi Arabia

Fax: +966 1 403 3125 (please keep trying)

Salutation: Your Royal Highness

And copies to:

Minister of Culture and Information

His Excellency Dr Abdulaziz Bin Muhiyuddin Khoja

Ministry of Culture and Information

Nasseriya Street, Riyadh 11161 Kingdom of Saudi Arabia

Fax: + 966 1 402 3570 / 405 0674

Also send copies to diplomatic representatives accredited to your country. Please insert local diplomatic addresses below:

Name Address 1 Address 2 Address 3 Fax Fax number Email Email address Salutation Salutation

Please check with your section office if sending appeals after the above date.

URGENT ACTION

man might FACe DEATH PENALTY FOR TWEETs

ADditional Information

Hamza Kashgari left Saudi Arabia on 6 February amid death threats after some clerics accused him of apostasy following statements he posted on Twitter which they deemed to be insulting towards the Prophet Mohammed. A day after he left the country, King Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud ordered the Ministry of Interior to arrest Hamza Kashgari and hold him accountable for the statements he made. The Malaysian authorities, who did not charge Hamza Kashgari with any recognisable criminal offence, arrested him on 9 February when he went to the airport to fly to New Zealand. They handed him over to the Saudi Arabian authorities in spite of calls from local and international organizations not to forcibly return him to Saudi Arabia.

In Saudi Arabia, the death penalty is applied for a wide range of offences including for apostasy and sorcery. The criminalization of apostasy is incompatible with the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion as set out in Article 18 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Although the crime of “sorcery” is not defined it has been used to punish people for the legitimate exercise of their human rights, including the rights to freedom of thought, conscience, religion, belief and expression. In 2011, two people were executed for sorcery.

Amnesty International has documented cases in Saudi Arabia where people whose comments were deemed contrary to Islam have at times been considered to be tantamount to being an apostate and as such sentenced to death. Court proceedings in Saudi Arabia fall far short of international standards for fair trial. Defendants are rarely allowed formal representation by a lawyer, and in many cases are not informed of the progress of legal proceedings against them. They may be convicted solely on the basis of confessions obtained under duress or deception.

Name: Hamza Kashgari

Gender m/f: Male

UA: 48/12 Index: MDE 23/002/2012 Issue Date: 13 February 2012

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