Please read the message below.
Fouad al-Farhan, one of Saudi Arabia’s most popular bloggers, was arrested on December 10 and remains in prison. He has not been charged with any crime.
Saudi Arabia isn’t known for free speech–but in recent years, it has allowed blogs to emerge as a vital new medium for civil society to flourish. Now, the entire Middle East blogosphere is at risk–if the Saudis continue to detain al-Farhan, other bloggers could be intimidated into silence.
But public pressure can make a difference here. The Saudi government has already reacted to media coverage of Fouad’s case. The more of us act quickly to call for his release, the more we can raise the profile of his cause–until the Saudi government decides to free Fouad rather than suffer more negative publicity. Avaaz will send this petition to governments and the global media–click below to sign it now!
Fouad al-Farhan, a father of two, is sometimes called “the Dean of the Saudi bloggers.” He is one of the few bloggers in Saudi Arabia willing to risk writing under his own name. Most of his writing focuses on cultural issues, and his blog’s tagline reads “Searching for freedom, dignity, justice, equality, public participation, and all the rest of the lost Islamic values.”
But when Fouad questioned the imprisonment of a group of academics and other Saudis who had planned to form a civil rights organization, the Interior Ministry asking him to sign an apology for questioning the Kingdom’s policy. He refused on principle. Within weeks, he was arrested without charge and taken in for “questioning.”
This is about more than Fouad’s case, more even than Saudi Arabia. It’s about the emergence of a vital and honest public sphere in the whole region and around the world. Other governments are watching closely; if the Saudi regime ends Fouad’s blogging career without repercussions, they won’t hesitate to crack down on dissident bloggers in their own countries.
By supporting Fouad now, we stand up for freedom of speech everywhere. One voice can be silenced, but many voices–all of our voices, around the world–cannot. Join the call for Fouad’s release–sign the petition now.
Ben, Esra’a, Galit, Ricken, and the whole Avaaz team
PS: You can also sign this petition in Arabic at this link–
Please take a few minutes to sign it and send it to your family and friends. This is our chance to win the war for freedom of speech in the region. We cannot sit back and watch bloggers be arrested one by one with little action fading away with time.
Fight back now and fight hard - or we lose this chance forever.
(Also - Don’t forget Kareem.)