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Malaysia deports Saudi columnist accused of blasphemy, abusing Prophet

Kuala Lumpur, Sun, 12 Feb 2012 ANI

Kuala Lumpur, Feb 12 (ANI): Malaysian authorities have reportedly deported a young Saudi Arabia columnist, who was accused of blasphemy and abusing Prophet Mohammed, a police official has said.


The move comes despite rights groups' concerns that Najeeb Kashgari may face execution at homeland.


Amnesty International said Mohammad Najeeb Kashgari was a "prisoner of conscience" since he was being detained in Malaysia for peacefully exercising his right to freedom of expression.


"If the Malaysian authorities hand over Kashgari to Saudi Arabia, they could end up complicit in any violation he suffers," the organization said on its website.


National police spokesman Ramli Yoosuf said that Kashgari, 23, was handed over to Saudi officials and flown back Sunday morning, ABC News reports.


He said that flights arrangements were handled by the Saudi authorities, but didn't give further details.


According to the report, Malaysian Home Minister Hishammuddin Hussein in a statement said any charges against Kashgari were "a matter for the Saudi Arabian authorities."


Meanwhile, Muhammad Afiq Mohamad Nor, a lawyer appointed by Kashgari's family, said the move was unlawful because he had obtained a court order to block the deportation.


Mohamad Nor said he hasn't been informed by police and was still verifying if the Saudi had indeed been sent back.


"We are concerned that he would not face a fair trial back home and that he could face the death penalty if he is charged with apostasy," the lawyer said. (ANI)


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