Fouad Al-Farhan, a 32 year old Saudi blogger, was detained on December 10,2007 "for violating rules not related to state security," according to the Saudi government.
The father of two was told by a source that there was an official order out for his arrest. In light of these events, Al-Farhan wrote a letter to his friends.
According to the letter, Al-Farhan was being detained for spearheading an online propaganda campaign supporting a few political prisoners who were charged under the guise of "terrorism".
The source, according to the letter, asked Al-Farhan to write an apology letter. "An apology for what?," Al-Farhan wrote, "for saying the government lied when it accused reformers of supporting terrorism?"
The worst case scenario would be that he spends three days in prison, the official told him according to the letter.
The blogger asked his friends to publish the letter if he is gone for over 3 days. He's been detained for 53 days, as of today.
"I don’t want to be forgotten in jail,” he told his friends.
This is not a domestic Saudi issue as it has happened here as well. This is an issue for all of us, at least those of us who consider the internet a sounding board for their thoughts.
This is it...this is the new frontier and we have to earn our right to use it; to make it our home.
I starting reading his blog after he was detained, read (in Arabic) some of my favorite posts of his here and here.
(Shame on you Saudi government for painting people you dislike with the "terrorist" brush. Who do you think you are George W. Bush?)
This situation reminds me of a famous quote by pastor Martin Niemoller:
In Germany they first came for the Communists,
and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a Communist.
Then they came for the Jews,
and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a Jew.
Then they came for the trade unionists,
and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a trade unionist.
Then they came for the Catholics,
and I didn't speak up because I was a Protestant.
Then they came for me -
and by that time no one was left to speak up.