Cairo on 5/8/2009.
The Arabic Network for Human Rights Information , AHNRI, declared today that Saudi security arrested the Syrian blogger, Raafat Al Ghanem ,25 years , a Saudi resident and owner of the blog “Defaf”, http://www.elaphblog.com/raafat on 29/7/2009 and detained him in an unknown location .
Raafat Al Ghanem ,a Syrian living in Saudi with his family, has gone to the passports administration in Ryiadh upon their request from his father.
As soon as Raafat showed up,Saudi investigations arrested him and took him to an unknown location. In the evening of the same day , a police force went to Raafat’s house and confiscated his hard disk.
Raafat is known to write in Saudi and Syrian net forums criticizing some social and political situations in Saudi as well as in Syria. He signed an “Appeal To The Custodian Of The Two Holy Mosques To Release The Blogger Laitaibi And The Writer Khaled Omair”, both detained since the beginning of 2009 in Saudi as they were planning for a demonstration in Riyadh requesting to stop war on Gaza. The appeal was signed by nearly a hundred Arab writers and media figures as well as Arab human rights organizations. Raafat also posted articles criticizing the practices of Commissioners for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice organization(1) , the mutaween(2).
The last article Raafat wrote on his blog , ” Eunuchs Playing Heros” , was deleted immediately after arresting him, implying the possibility of security torturing him for the password of the blog or that the administration of Elaph site is responsible for deleting this last article.
ANHRI , as it denounces again the continued policy of the Saudi security to arrest activists and bloggers and to detain them in unknown locations , asks the Syrian government not to keep quiet about this extreme violation against a Syrian citizen.
ANHRI asserts that disclosing the oppressive practices of the Saudi security has readily become an item on ANHRI’s priority list of the very near future. ANHRI is on for monitoring the Saudi government atrocities till this government would abide to the law, otherwise it would be disclosed as a government dwelling in the dark medievals.
(1) Commission for the Promoting of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice (CPVPV)
The religious police in Saudi Arabia are employed in direct order of command from the king . They are tasked with enforcing Sharia as defined in Saudi Arabia. In addition to having the power to arrest anyone engaged in inappropriate contact between the sexes, they can also enforce Islamic dress-codes and store closures during the prayer time, and prohibit the consumption or sale of alcoholic beverages. In addition to this, they actively prevent the religious practices of other religions within Saudi Arabia.
The Mutaween in Saudi Arabia are tasked with enforcing Sharia as defined by the government, specifically by the Commission for the Promoting of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice (CPVPV). The Mutaween of the CPVPV consists of more than 3,500 officers in addition to thousands of volunteers…often accompanied by a police escort.