Saudi Blog-Father Freed: "I'll be Blogging Soon"
A Saudi blogger was released Saturday after spending four months in prison without being charged, several news outlets reported.
The Saudi government had warned Fouad al-Farhan, who is 33, about his activist blogs before his arrest in mid-December. The government said at the time of his arrest that it was unrelated to state security, according to a Washington Post report. The next month, CNN reported, a ministry representative said Farhan had been arrested "because he violated the regulations of the kingdom."
Farhan's online support of a group of 10 men arrested last year apparently contributed to his arrest. The government says the men are terrorists, the Post reported, while their attorney says that are political activists who wanted to form a civil rights group.
Farhan had used his blog to criticize corruption and call for political reform in Saudi Arabia, an absolute monarchy.
In a telephone interview Saturday, Farhan said he was happy to be free and described his time behind bars as "a unique experience." He said he had been "fairly treated" but would not comment on the specifics of his case.
"I will be blogging soon," he said.
The Interior Ministry did not comment on the release.
Farhan's arrest, believed to be the first of an online critic in Saudi Arabia, had been condemned by bloggers around the world, including more than 200 in the kingdom. In February, protesters demonstrated against the arrest in front of the Saudi Embassy in Washington.
Farhan's supporters continued his blog and set up the Free Fouad Web site, but Saudi authorities blocked both sites earlier this month.