Monday, January 07, 2008

Arrests for activism

Tuesday January 1, 2008 11:31 PM

RIYADH, Saudi Arabia (AP) - Saudi authorities have detained a popular blogger for violating the kingdom's laws, a senior Interior Ministry official said Tuesday. It was the first known arrest of a Saudi online critic.

The blogger, Fouad al-Farhan, was being questioned by security authorities, Interior Ministry spokesman Maj. Gen. Monsour al-Turki said. He added the blogger might be released on Wednesday but did not elaborate.

The Saudi English daily, Arab News, said al-Farhan had ``violated non-security regulations.'' The paper said the 32-year-old Jeddah resident was arrested at his office Dec. 10 and taken to his home where police conducted a search. There were no other details.


Ronak Safarzadeh, 21, a member of the One Million Signatures Campaign for women’s rights in Iran and, like Delaram Ali, a participant in the peaceful demonstrations for women’s rights in Iran and mentioned in Delaram’s open letter below, was arrested a few weeks ago. Her home was ransacked by authorities and her computer was seized. Ronak has not been allowed any contact with her family and officials will not provide her family with any information about her. They do not know where she is or anything about what is happening to her, although they learned in this past week that her arrest order was renewed and that she has not been provided with an attorney. On November 3, her mother attempted to ask judiciary officials about her daughter’s condition and location and was beaten by them instead.

Each of these women has been active in gathering signatures in support of women’s family and human rights in Iran. They spend 15-30 minutes speaking with Iranian citizens about justice for women and asking them to sign the petition. When officials arrest these women, they are seizing these signatures as well.


I don't have much to add. I wanted to highlight both of these cases for what should be obvious reasons. Governments acting this way get me all riled up.

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