Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Hamza Kashgari To Be Released??

The blog Saudi Jeans has reported that Hamza Kashgari "will be freed in the next few weeks": Hamza Kashgari To Be Released. (If for some reason you don't know who Hamza Kashgari is and what this is all about, look here, and here, and here, and here ....)

Certainly it will be welcome news, if it turns out to be true, when and if Hamza Kashgari is released, unharmed, from prison. But there are several troubling things about the story, as reported by Saudi Jeans.

First of all, and most disturbing of all, there is the the fact that he will apparently continue to be incarcerated for a "few weeks".

Second of all, the release, if it takes place, has been granted only on the condition of Hamza Kashgari's "repentance". According to Saudi Jeans, "a Sharia court in the capital has ratified his repentance in the presence of his family, and that he showed his regret over what he has written about the Prophet." In other words, it's starting to sound like "Hamza Kashgari" could end up being Arabic for "Winston Smith".

The third troubling aspect of all this is that Saudi Jeans also reports that he has been unable to reach Hamza Kashgari's lawyer directly. One would think that the lawyer of a man about to freed from prison would be eager to publicly confirm such good news.

At the very least all of this suggests that Kashgari's family, friends and associates are under a great deal of pressure to keep a low profile. But far worse things are distinctly possible. Has Kashgari been tortured or otherwise abused by the Saudis, or is he being threatened with torture and/or prolonged imprisonment if he and his family and friends and associates don't cooperate and act sufficiently "repentant"?