Tuesday, December 07, 2010
By Agence France Presse (AFP)
RAMALLAH, Occupied West Bank: A young Palestinian blogger jailed for posting “blasphemous” remarks online is being kept in jail over fears he will be killed by his family, security sources said Monday.
Walid al-Husseini, 26, was arrested in the northern West Bank city of Qalqilya at the end of October and accused of “blasphemy against the prophet and the Koran” for posts on his blog and on Facebook.
“It is impossible to release him because we are afraid he will be killed by his family,” a security source in Qalqilya told AFP, adding that relatives had disowned Husseini after his arrest.
Human Rights Watch (HRW) urged the Palestinian Authority (PA) to either
charge him or release him Sunday.
“The PA’s claim that Husseini offended Muslims is no excuse for arbitrarily detaining him,” said Joe Stork, deputy director of HRW’s Middle East chapter.
“The Palestinian judiciary should demonstrate its integrity by protecting the right to free expression and ordering Husseini’s release and his safety,” he said.
Palestinian officials refused to comment on why Husseini had not yet been charged. Continuing to hold him without charge violates Palestinian law, under which a criminal suspect should be charged or released within 72 hours, the rights group said.
A spokesman for the group told AFP Husseini’s family had refused him a lawyer and that it was unclear whether anyone had visited him in jail since he was arrested October 31.
Last week, a new post appeared on Husseini’s blog page in which the author apologizes for the offense caused by his blog. “I apologize for the offense I have caused to all religions and especially to Islam with that which was published on the pages of this blog,” it says in a post allegedly written by Husseini.
It was not clear how Husseini managed to post the blog entry while being held in jail.
On the English-language version of his blog, entitled “Proud Atheist,” Husseini explains why he decided to renounce Islam, describing it as “this hollow faith which, just like any other religion, [is] a mythical ideology put at the service of politics.” – AFP