Hamza Kashgari has not yet been charged for his blasphemous tweets. After the tweets, he feared for his life and fled Saudia Arbia for Malaysia. Malaysian immigration officials – at the request of Saudia Arabia – sent Hamza back. If he is charged and found guilty of insulting Islam and Prophet Muhammad, he could face execution by the state.
Hamza is currently being detained in Saudia Arabia. His lawyers had charged that Hamza’s arrest and deportation from Malaysia were illegal. Today, a panel dismissed those charges. This story is carried by The Sun Daily and the New Straits Times.
Here is an excerpt from The Sun Daily (click link for full story):
[Hamza] was deported on Feb 12, on a private flight at the request of the Saudi government.
The following day, lawyers Murnie Hidayah Anuar and Mohd Afiq Mohamad Noor filed the writ of habeas corpus on Hamza’s behalf, naming the inspector-general of police, immigration director-general, home minister and the Malaysian Government as respondents.
On Feb 22, the Kuala Lumpur High Court allowed the respondents’ preliminary objection to strike out Hamza’s application on grounds that the issue of habeas corpus had become academic because Hamza was no longer in Malaysia as he had since been deported.
He then filed an appeal to the Federal Court. Hamza, who writes for the Jeddah-based Al Bilad newspaper, allegedly posted blasphemous tweets on Prophet Muhammad’s birthday but they were deleted the following day, from his Twitter account.
In today’s court proceedings, the panel heard submissions from Hamza’s counsel, Amer Hamzah Arshad, and Senior Federal Counsel Amir Nasaruddin for the respondents.
Amer Hamzah argued that although Hamza was deported, there was still a live issue for the court to determine.
He said the High Court had the power and jurisdiction to proceed and hear the matter to decide whether his arrest and deportation was lawful or not, and subsequently, make an order of compensation for deprieving him of his fundamental rights.
Amir, meanwhile, argued that the law stated that the only remedy available to a person who filed a habeas corpus application was to secure his release. He said the person could not seek relief, other than his release in a habeas corpus application.
Mohd Afiq told reporters that Hamza was still in detention in Saudi Arabia but he had not been charged. He said he would seek instruction from Hamza’s family whether or not to file a civil suit for declaration that his (Hamza’s) arrest and deportation was unlawful, and seek damages.