Saudis Holding Blogger Critical of Government

Popular scribe detained since Dec. 10, spurring fears of crackdown
By Nick McMaster,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 2, 2008 1:50 PM CST
The banner header from Fouad al-Farhan's site, currently maintained by friends and family during his detention.   (
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(Newser) – The Saudi Arabian government has confirmed that it is holding a prominent blogger for questioning, the New York Times reports today. Fouad al-Farhan, who discussed social issues as one of the few Saudis to blog in Arabic under his real name, was arrested Dec. 10 to be interrogated about “specific violations of nonsecurity laws” according to an Interior Ministry spokesman.

Farhan wrote to friends two weeks before his arrest that he was being investigated over postings on Saudi political prisoners, and had been asked to sign an official statement of apology. “An apology for what?" he wrote. "Because I said the government is a liar?”