The Internet In the Arab World
A New Space of Repression?
No Rules, No Limits
United Arab Emirates:
Freedom of expression is missing despite a decision banning imprisonment for press crimes
Members of the Hisba apparatus arrest and beat up a blogger for a poem
Cairo 9th November 2008
The Arabic Network for Human Rights Information reported today that blogger Roshdi Algadir was arrested by the Hisba apparatus in Saudi Arabia on 4th November. He was taken from his place of work in Al-Dammam city, held for three hours, beaten up and forced to sign an agreement never again to publish his work on the internet. The reason behind the attack is the poem that Algadir has posted on his blog: http://roshdi.maktoobblog.com.
Roshdi Algadir, winner of an international award for his collections of poetry had posted some on them on his blog. Following this he was surprised by a number of the Hisba apparatus snatching him from his work, beating him and accusing him of apostasy.
Algadir is insistent that poetry should only be subject to the critiques of literature, but the way he was arrested confirms the insistence of the apparatus to act against the interests of freedom of expression in the name of religious repression.
Gamal Eid, executive director of the Arabic Network for Human Rights Information stated:
“The members of the Hisba apparatus threaten the legal system and all the citizen’s rights in the name of protecting the Islamic religion. The existence of this apparatus is an insult to Islam, depicting it as it does, as anti freedom of speech and anti freedom of expression.
The Arabic Network for Human Rights Information hopes that the ministry of the interior investigates the complaint raised by the blogger concerning his arrest and attack.