Saudi Arabia’s most popular blogger, Fouad al-Farhan, has been detained for questioning, an Interior Ministry spokesman confirmed Monday. It was the first known arrest of an online critic in the kingdom.
Farhan, 32, who used his blog to criticize corruption and call for political reform, was detained “for violating rules not related to state security,” according to the spokesman, Maj. Gen. Mansour al-Turki, responding to repeated requests for comment with a brief cellphone text message.
Farhan’s Dec. 10 arrest was reported last week on the Internet and has been condemned by bloggers in Egypt, Tunisia, Morocco and Bahrain. The Saudi news media have not yet reported the arrest, but more than 200 bloggers in the kingdom have criticized Farhan’s detention, and a group of supporters have set up a Free Fouad Web site. [complete article]