Malaysian officials have deported a Saudi journalist back to his home country, where he is wanted for posting comments on Twitter that were perceived as insulting to the Prophet Muhammad, say media reports.
Hamza Kashgari, 23, who allegedly posted tweets that were deemed blasphemous, left Saudi Arabia on Thursday for Malaysia. He was arrested at the airport upon landing in Kuala Lumpur.
Kashgari’s lawyers managed to secure an injunction to stop the deportation, but by the time it was issued it was already hours too late.
“We are very disappointed that the authorities refused us access to Kashgari and we were given the runaround. We were not told of his whereabouts since he was detained at [the airport] last Thursday. As he is now out of the country, there is nothing more we can do,” one of Kashgari’s lawyers, R. Kesavan, told Malaysia’s The Sun Daily.
After Kashgari allegedly posted the tweets, thousands of people angrily commented, with some calling for his execution for blasphemy.
A leading religious figure in Saudi Arabia, Abdul-Rahman bin Nassir al-Barrak, said that top judges would decide Kashgari’s fate. “His repentance will have to be assessed by judges who will decide whether he was truthful or was lying,” he was reported as saying by the Gulf News website.
“We have doubts that the repentance statement was genuine and we believe that it was written by someone else for him in the hope that he will be protected and will not be brought to justice,” Barrak added.