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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE


Saudi Arabia Arrests Christian Blogger

You are free to disseminate the following news. We request that you reference ICC (International Christian Concern) and include our web address www.www.persecution.org. Contact Jonathan Racho, Regional Manager for Africa, 1-800-ICC (422)-5441, [email protected]

(January 30, 2009) The Washington-DC based human rights group, International Christian Concern (ICC)
www.www.persecution.org has learned that authorities in Saudi Arabia have detained a 28-year-old blogger, Hamoud Bin Saleh, for publicly writing about his conversion from Islam to Christianity on his website.

He was arrested on January 13, 2008, and detained at the Eleisha political prison in Riyadh due to “his opinions and announcement at his blog that he converted from Islam to Christianity,” according to a report by the Arabic Network for Human Rights Information (ANHRI). In addition to harassing him by detaining him two other times for similar offenses, the Saudi officials have now blocked Bin Saleh’s blog, “Masihi Saudi,” at http://christforsaudi.blogspot.com.

The report further noted that Bin Saleh’s previous release from prison in November of 2008 coincided with the Saudi-initiated interfaith dialogue held at the United Nations in New York, suggesting that his release came only because his arrest might have “tarnished its image” and “expose[d] the Saudi government’s false allegations.”

Immediately following the conference, the report indicated that Saudi officials chose to re-arrest Bin Saleh “because the entire world is busy following up on the aggression on Gaza , and the Saudi authorities may seize the chance to make an example with nobody watching.”

Bin Saleh’s case is especially urgent in that we know that this is not the first time that Saudi converts from Islam to Christianity have suffered terrible mistreatment. In August of 2008, ICC reported on the case of a female convert from Islam to Christianity who was burned to death by her father. Her father was a member of the mutaween (Commission for Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice), an arm of the government that enforces religious purity and is the government’s face of persecution to Christians in Saudi Arabia . She had also disclosed her faith on a website. (For the full text on the case of the martyred woman, see: /suffering/pressdetail.php?presscode=236)

Despite their intolerant policies and practices, the Saudi Arabian officials leave no stone unturned to portray themselves as champions of tolerance to non-Muslims. In 2008, they organized major international conferences on interfaith dialogue. Their practice, however, shows that such conferences are mere public relations gimmicks.

Jeff King, ICC’s President, said, “The international community must hold Saudi Arabia accountable for its failure to live up to the basic rights of freedom of religion and press. Particularly the countries and organizations that are engaged in interfaith dialogue with Saudi Arabia must intervene in this case and win freedom for Bin Saleh.”

Please pray for Bin Saleh so that he will continue to persevere in his faith in Jesus Christ in the midst of the ordeal he is facing. Also please pray for his release from prison and protection after he is released.

Please call the Saudi Arabian embassy in your country and ask the officials at the embassies release him from prison.

Saudi Arabian Embassies:




























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USA


(202) 342-3800


(202) 337-4084


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(613) 237-4100


(613) 237-0567



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+44 (0)20 7917 3000



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Australia


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