Asia

Malaysia deports Saudi journalist Hamza Kashgari

  • 12 February 2012
  • From the section Asia
A picture taken on 9 February, 2012 shows a Saudi internet surfer checking her twitter account at a coffee shop in Riyadh
Mr Kashgari's controversial tweet sparked more than 30,000 responses, including death threats

Malaysian authorities have deported a Saudi journalist accused of insulting the Prophet Muhammad in a tweet.

Police confirmed to the BBC that Hamza Kashgari was sent back to Saudi Arabia on Sunday despite protests from human rights groups.

Mr Kashgari's controversial tweet last week sparked more than 30,000 responses and several death threats.

Insulting the prophet is considered blasphemous in Islam and is punishable by death in Saudi Arabia.

Mr Kashgari, 23, fled Saudi Arabia last week and was detained upon his arrival in the Malaysian capital Kuala Lumpur on Thursday.

He had tweeted his doubts about Muhammad on the prophet's birthday last week. Saudi clerics condemned his remarks as blasphemous.

Injunction

Mr Kashgari apologised and deleted the tweet, but when he continued to receive threats, he left for Malaysia.

The two countries do not have a formal extradition treaty but Malaysia has good relations with Saudi Arabia as a fellow Muslim country, says the BBC's Jennifer Pak, in Kuala Lumpur.

Mr Kashgari's lawyer obtained an injunction on Sunday to allow him to stay in Malaysia until his case was heard, but it was too late, our correspondent says.

"The nature of the charges against the individual in this case are a matter for the Saudi Arabian authorities," Malaysia's home ministry said in a statement.

Amnesty International has warned that Mr Kashgari could be executed in Saudi Arabia if he is found guilty of apostasy.

"If the Malaysian authorities hand over Hamza Kashgari to Saudi Arabia, they could end up complicit in any violations he suffers," said Hassiba Hadj Sahraoui of Amnesty's Middle East division.

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