International PEN welcomes the release of Internet writer Amad Fouad Al-Farhan on the morning of April 26, 2008, after spending 145 days in prison. Saudi authorities have not made any statement  about the case and Al-Farhan does not appear to be facing charges.

Background Information

Amad Fouad Al-Farhan was detained by Saudi security agents on December 10, 2007, at his place of work in Jeddah. He was held for his online comments in support of political prisoners detained in the kingdom. Although the Interior Ministry acknowledged Al-Farhan’s detention, it did not give any details of the charges against him.

In an e-mail sent to friends before his arrest, Al-Farhan stated that he had been warned by the Saudi Interior Ministry that he would be “picked up in the coming two weeks” and questioned. In the same e-mail he speculated that he could be questioned about comments he had recently made on his weblog in support of the rights of political prisoners in Saudi Arabia. After his detention, fellow Saudi bloggers launched an Internet campaign demanding Al-Farhan’s release and formed a group in the online social network Facebook.

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Thank you to all who sent appeals on his behalf.