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Monday, February 13, 2012

"Saudi 'apostate' faces certain execution"

From Free Malaysia Today News:

The blood of deported Saudi journalist Hamza Kashgari is on Malaysia’s hands.

According to Human Rights Watch Asia deputy director Phil Robertson, Malaysia did not give Kashgari access to his lawyers or to the United Nations refugee agency, and speedily sent him on a plane back to Saudi Arabia.

Because of this, Kashgari would most likely face an almost certain death at the hands of his government.

“Malaysia’s action to deport Kashgari to Saudi Arabia sets all new lows in the Malaysian government’s failure to respect human rights standards, and if he faces execution back in Saudi Arabia, the Malaysian government will have blood on its hands,” he said in a press statement.

He added that the Malaysian government did not allow Kashgari access to his lawyers for days, and prevented the United Nations from meeting him.

“But on Sunday, the police told those lawyers that Kashgari was still being held after he already had been forced on a plane,” he said.

The lawyers then fought to get a court injunction to prevent Kashgari’s deportation, but were too late. The Saudi journalist was already on his way home.

This was despite the claim that Malaysia did not have a formal extradition treaty with Saudi Arabia.

“By its actions, the Home Ministry once again showed that it believes rule of law is whatever it says and that it is more than willing to be totally opaque in its operations to maintain its flexibility to do what it wants when it wants,” he said.

Many called for his head after he supposedly insulted the Prophet Muhammad; which is considered blasphemous in Islam. It is also a crime punishable by death.

Kashgari had been planning to fly to New Zealand, intending to seek asylum there. He was in transit from Jordan when he was detained here.

According to Robertson, Malaysia appeared to be hypocritical in its human rights stance, especially where the UN was concerned.

“When seeking a seat on the UN Human Rights Council, the Malaysian government pledged that it would abide by international human rights treaties.”

“But from the day Malaysia took it’s seat, Malaysian government leaders have walked away from that pledge,” he said.
Malaysia defended its actions:
The Malaysian Home Minister Hishamuddin Hussein said the deportation to Saudi Arabia was legal and that Malaysia cannot be seen as a safe haven, said the BBC.

Mr Hussein was quoted by the AP news agency as saying: "I will not allow Malaysia to be seen as a safe country for terrorists and those who are wanted by their countries of origin, and also be seen as a transit county."