Freedom of Expression,  Human Rights,  Islamism

Hamza Kashgari facing death penalty

Update Interpol has denied that its notice system had been involved in the arrest of Kashgari. A spokesperson said: “The assertion that Saudi Arabia used Interpol’s system in this case is wholly misleading and erroneous.” 

As I’m sure readers are aware by now, Hamza Kashgari has now been deported from Malaysia to Saudi Arabia where he faces the death penalty for tweets expressing ambivalent feelings about Mohammed.  He has also implicitly criticised the Saudi regime through tweets such as ‘No Saudi women will go to hell, because it’s impossible to go there twice.’

The involvement of Interpol in this case has disturbed many, and Mick Hartley quotes from an account of Interpol’s constitution in order to highlight this.

In order to maintain as politically neutral a role as possible, Interpol’s constitution forbids it to undertake any interventions or activities of a political, military, religious, or racial nature. Its work focuses primarily on public safety, terrorism, organized crime, crimes against humanity, environmental crime, genocide, war crimes, piracy, illicit drug production, drug trafficking, weapons smuggling,human trafficking, money laundering, child pornography, white-collar crime, computer crime, intellectual property crime and corruption.

Mick also quotes the response of Jago Russell to events:

Jago Russell, the chief executive of the British charity Fair Trials International, which has campaigned against the blanket enforcement of Interpol red notices, said: “Interpol should be playing no part in Saudi Arabia’s pursuit of Hamza Kashgari, however unwise his comments on Twitter.

Oh dear.  As Ophelia Benson observes:

Oh just leave off the last bit, dammit. What was unwise about it? Unless “unwise” just means “risky to self,” but it can’t mean that, because Saudi Arabia wouldn’t be pursuing Kashgari for risking his safety nor would Interpol help Saudi Arabia for that reason. Russell apparently felt some horrible need to appease the murderous theocratic bullies by pretending to think Kashgari really did do something just a little bit wrong. Don’t do that.

Over on Maryam Namazie’s blog, a commenter provides the address

Ronald K Noble
Secretary General

and contact form for Interpol, suggesting that readers might want to call for an investigation into the apparent misuse of Interpol facilities.  Another commenter linked to this petition.