Interpol accused after Malaysia arrests Hamza Kashgari over Muhammad tweet

Interpol has been accused of abusing its powers after Saudi Arabia allegedly used the organisation’s red notice system to get a journalist arrested in Malaysia for insulting the Prophet Muhammad.

Police in Kuala Lumpur said Hamza Kashgari, 23, was detained at the airport “following a request made to us by Interpol” the international police cooperation agency, on behalf of the Saudi authorities.

But Interpol later denied that its notice system had been involved in
the arrest of Kashgari. A statement issued by the agency said: “The assertion that Saudi Arabia used Interpol’s system in this case is wholly misleading and erroneous.”

Interpol, the statement said, “has not been involved in the case involving a Saudi blogger arrested in Malaysia and deported to Saudi Arabia. No Interpol channels, its National Central Bureaus in Kuala Lumpur and Riyadh nor its General Secretariat headquarters in Lyon, France were involved at any time in this case.”

Kashgari, a newspaper columnist, fled Saudi Arabia after posting a tweet on the prophet’s birthday that sparked more than 30,000 responses and several death threats. The posting, which was later deleted, read: “I have loved things about you and I have hated things about you and there is a lot I don’t understand about you … I will not pray for you.”

More than 13,000 people joined a Facebook page titled “The Saudi People Demand the Execution of Hamza Kashgari”.

Clerics in Saudi Arabia called for him to be charged with apostasy, a religious offence punishable by death. Reports suggest that the Malaysian authorities intend to return him to his native country.

Kashgari’s detention has triggered criticism by human rights groups of Malaysia’s decision to arrest the journalist and of Interpol’s cooperation in the process.

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.

“If an Interpol red notice is the reason for his arrest and detention it would be a serious abuse of this powerful international body that is supposed to respect basic human rights (including to peaceful free speech) and to be barred from any involvement in religious or political cases.”

He called on Interpol to stand by its obligations to fundamental human rights and “to comply with its obligation not to play any part in this case, which is clearly of a religious nature”.

Interpol, which has 190 member countries, has a series of coloured notice systems that police forces around the world use to pass on requests for help. Contacted at its headquarters in Lyon, France, after the assertion by Malaysian police, the organisation initially gave no reply to requests for comment on the Kashgari case.

In response to past criticisms of the red notice system, it has said: “There are safeguards in place. The subject of a red notice can challenge it through an independent body, the commission for the control of Interpol’s files (CCF).”

Last year Interpol was accused by Fair Trials International of allowing the system to be abused for political purposes when it issued a red notice for the arrest of the Oxford-based leader of an Asian separatist movement, Benny Wenda, who has been granted asylum and has lived in the UK since 2003.

By Owen Bowcot-The Guardian


Anonymous takes down Interpol website after Interpol is accused of abusing their authority in facilitating the arrest of a Saudi journalist wanted for blasphemy.

Anonymous hacktivists disabled the website of Interpol, the world’s largest international police organization, for a brief period on Saturday. Many speculate the attack was motivated by Interpol’s controversial decision to aid Saudi Arabia in the arrest of Saudi journalist, Hamza Kashgari.
One source reports that by helping the Saudis capture Kashgari, Interpol has become an international Sharia enforcement unit. The fear is that people who flee the Muslim world to escape religious persecution and punishment can now be rounded up by Interpol and returned to their countries to face draconian Islamic penalties for balspemy, penalties up to and including death.
Here’s a photo of Hamza Kashgiri, I wish we could fly in and free him.
Anonymous hacktivists most probably used a (DDoS) attack to take down the Interpol website. A DDoS attack is an orchestrated attempt to make a computer resource unavailable to its intended users. A DDoS attack does no permanent damage; the website is not hacked, and no information is tampered with, lost, or stolen. Instead, the website is simply made unavailable to other web users for a short period of time.
A DDoS attack, if successful, is a short lived if embarrassing nuisance, and a temporary inconvenience for users of the website. The value of such attacks has always been symbolic – a means for Anonymous enthusiasts to flex their cyber muscle, and draw attention to causes they feel passionate about.
Hacktivists associated with the international Internet collective known as Anonymous and identified with the Twitter account BlackTuesday claimed responsibility for Saturday’s successful DDoS attack against Interpol.
We’ll probably never know whether interpol helped have Kashgari arrested, but what we can do is sign the petition being presented to the Saudi Arabian Embassy in London

About cid andrenelli

writer and artist
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