x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

Malaysia defends deporting Saudi who insulted Prophet Mohammed on Twitter

Hamza Kashgari was arrested when he arrived in Riyadh on Sunday night, according to a report in Arab News.

RIYADH // A Saudi journalist wanted in the kingdom for comments deemed insulting to the Prophet Mohammed was arrested after being deported from Malaysia and will face charges of blasphemy.

Hamza Kashgari was arrested when he arrived in Riyadh on Sunday night, according to a report in Arab News.

Mr Kashgari, 23, who was accompanied by Saudi officials on his flight, is expected to face charges of blasphemy.

He was detained in Malaysia last week after fleeing Saudi Arabia in fear for his life after his Twitter post about the Prophet sparked outrage.

Insulting the Prophet Mohammed is a crime punishable by execution in Saudi Arabia. Yesterday Malaysia defended the deportation, and insisted it was not a "safe haven" for fugitives.

"Do not look at Malaysia as a safe transit country or a safe haven for those who are wanted by their country of origin," the Malaysian home minister, Hishammuddin Hussein, said.

But an opposition political party and a human-rights group quickly condemned the remarks and said Mr Kashgari was deported because he was on a Saudi watchlist of young pro-democracy activists.