Malaysia Defends Deportation of Saudi Accused of Insulting Muhammad

Posted February 13th, 2012 at 3:35 am (UTC-5)
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Malaysia has defended its deportation of a Saudi journalist wanted in his home country for allegedly insulting the Prophet Muhammad on Twitter.

Home Minister Hishammuddin Hussein said Monday that Malaysia is not a safe haven for fugitives.

His comments come a day after Malaysia deported 23-year-old columnist Hamza Kashgari, whom authorities detained last week after he fled from Saudi Arabia.

Human rights groups have criticized sending Kashgari back to Saudi Arabia, where senior clerics have accused him of apostasy – a crime punishable by death.

Christoph Wilcke, a senior researcher with New York-based Human Rights Watch told VOA that Kashgari is “very unlikely” to get a fair trial.

Saudi newspaper Arab News said Kashgari was detained on arrival in Riyadh.

His comments triggered outrage in Saudi Arabia with many people calling for his death. Kashgari has apologized and deleted his Twitter account.