Indian man arrested for blasphemy in Saudi Arabia

Published March 6, 2015
Although the Indian claims the content was shared accidentally on his profile, the team investigating him believes he is guilty of violating the law. ─ AFP/File
Although the Indian claims the content was shared accidentally on his profile, the team investigating him believes he is guilty of violating the law. ─ AFP/File

JEDDAH: An Indian national in Jeddah was arrested a month ago for violating the cyber laws of the country by promoting blasphemous content.

The unnamed Indian expat who has been living in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) for two years was taken into custody by police at the airport for ‘liking’ blasphemous content ─ which led to a display of the said content on his social-media profile.

The image in question depicted the Kaaba covered in Hindu deities. A Saudi national who was offended by the image reported the Indian man to the Commission for Promotion of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice (Haia).

Read more: Survey reveals Pakistanis see problems with blasphemy law

Although the Indian claims the content was shared accidentally on his profile, the team investigating him believes he is guilty of violating the law. Indian Consul General B.S. Mubarak confirmed that an investigation was underway; “We are trying to help him in the best possible way,” he said.

Legal experts believe the consulate will only be able to enter a plea on his behalf only after investigations have concluded and a verdict is issued.

Article 6 of the Anti-Cyber Crime law in the KSA prevents disruption of public order and morals through the creation/dissemination of electronic materials, and the country has made it to the list of 'Worst Countries for Religious Freedom'.

Freedom of religion in Saudi Arabia is neither recognised nor protected under the law. Muslims (and other religious groups) who do not adhere to the government’s interpretation of Islam face significant political, economic, legal, social, and religious discrimination, including limited employment and educational opportunities, under representation in official institutions, restrictions on religious practice, and restrictions on places of worship.

Read more: The untold story of blasphemy laws in Pakistan

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