Malaysia extradites Kashgari

Malaysia has deported Kashgari back to Saudi Arabia.

Police confirmed to the BBC that Hamza Kashgari was sent back to Saudi Arabia on Sunday despite protests from human rights groups.

Mr Kashgari’s controversial tweet last week sparked more than 30,000 responses and several death threats.

That’s the BBC doing it again – his tweet “sparked” more than 30,000 calls for him to be executed (or “responses” as the BBC put it). It’s just a little bit his fault for being controversial. Just ever so slightly.

Insulting the prophet is considered blasphemous in Islam and is punishable by death in Saudi Arabia.

Slightly random, since Kashgari didn’t actually “insult” Mo. But the BBC wants to make sure everyone realizes it blames Kashgari just a little.

Mr Kashgari apologised and deleted the tweet, but when he continued to receive threats, he left for Malaysia.

The two countries do not have a formal extradition treaty but Malaysia has good relations with Saudi Arabia as a fellow Muslim country, says the BBC’s Jennifer Pak, in Kuala Lumpur.

Ah yes, how cozy and communitarian and ummah-ish – a fellow Muslim country that executes people for “insulting” a “prophet” who’s been dead for 14 centuries.

“The nature of the charges against the individual in this case are a matter for the Saudi Arabian authorities,” Malaysia’s home ministry said in a statement.

But he wasn’t in Saudi Arabia – he’d left it. Countries don’t automatically extradite people to countries that have insane disgusting rights-violating laws. Lots of countries won’t extradite murder suspects to the US because the US has the death penalty.

This is loathsome.


  1. 'Tis Himself, OM says

    Most countries won’t extradite someone for political crimes. If insulting a dead man in a theocracy isn’t political, then the term is obsolete.

  2. says

    “‘If the Malaysian authorities hand over Hamza Kashgari to Saudi Arabia, they could end up complicit in any violations he suffers,’ said Hassiba Hadj Sahraoui of Amnesty’s Middle East division.”

    I’m sure that has the Malaysian authorities worried.

    Criticising Mohammed while living in an ‘Islamic country’ is much the same as rubbishing Kim Il Sung while resident in North Korea.

  3. says

    An appalling case. But I don’t know if you can blame the BBC for their choice of words. While I fully agree that we as atheists should strive to get rid of blasphemy laws, in many western countries there are still blasphemy statutes on the books. Just recently, a German blogger won a court case against the RCC (or rather the state which had brought blasphemy charges on behalf of the church), because he had called them “a sect of (insert not so nice words for “child abusers”)”. The UN is split about this too, so I’m not surprised that even in the west, mainstream society (and the BBC being part of that) views defamation of religion with suspicion.

    Malaysia does not execute people for blasphemy, however they do for murder, treason, drug trafficking. It has enacted shariah law for its majority Muslim population (for instance making it impossible to legally leave Islam, or for Muslim women to marry non-Muslims), but the shariah courts can only pronounce sentences up to three years in prison or six lashes. But, there is certainly an element of support for more radical forms of Islam, and it doesn’t surprise me at all that extradition to Saudi Arabia was granted quickly.

    Now about the situation in Saudi Arabia: He hasn’t been charged yet, and it is well-known that the current King is a liberal (within the Saudi context!) trying to push back the radicals. In several high-profile cases, if the death penalty had been brought at all (insults to Islam can also result in corporal punishment, and prison sentences of several years, seeing that Saudi Arabia has no codified penal code), the King has been known to commute sentences and even pardon people, usually after they expressed some kind of penance. The more high profile, the better the chances for this, as the King is aware of international repercussions. So at this point, a death penalty is far from certain.

  4. says

    We can’t get a fucking child rapist extradited because a bunch of his buddies in the film industry are cool with it, but Saudi Arabia CAN get someone the authorities know will be murdered for TALKING. Fuck this world. Fuck it so badly.

  5. says

    C. Mason,

    as I said, it’s far from certain that he will be executed. But Malaysia and Saudi Arabia don’t have an extradition treaty, so it was totally up to the Malaysian government what to do with a foreign national (there might be Malaysian laws prohibiting the govt from extraditing its own nationals, I don’t know)

    Polanski, on the other hand, is a French national. The US France Extradition Treaty stipulates that while the US may chose to extradite US nationals to France, France cannot under any circumstances extradite its nationals to the US. Many countries do not extradite their own citizens, so that’s quite different from the Malaysian case. Many countries allow the prosecution of their own nationals for crimes committed abroad, I don’t know if that has been tried in France.

    Of course, Switzerland was a third country, and the Swiss authorities considered the extradition request, but a Swiss court threw it out on legal grounds. I don’t think Hollywood had much to do with it, the Swiss courts are independent.

  6. says


    I guess what I meant to say is that the BBC usage just reflects what’s normal in the UK. But in order to change things, one should call them out on it!

  7. GordonWillis says

    I guess what I meant to say is that the BBC usage just reflects what’s normal in the UK.

    Dammit, nobody tells me anything. But what worries me the most is how often we have to inform the BBC that their wording is bad.

  8. Egbert says

    “controversial” is BBC apologetics too. Take it out and it’s a person expressing their freedom of speech in global social media and then likely facing death for it. It’s an outrage.

  9. GordonWillis says

    “‘If the Malaysian authorities hand over Hamza Kashgari to Saudi Arabia, they could end up complicit in any violations he suffers,’ said Hassiba Hadj Sahraoui of Amnesty’s Middle East division.”

    I’m sure that has the Malaysian authorities worried.

    Yes, well. What worries them the most is that even though they are oh so tolerant there is just a little bit, a very little bit, of suspicion that their merciful and compassionate bigwig has got it in for them after all; I mean, being nice and friendly to women and things is, well, nice and friendly, but how if…I mean, people have got to behave themselves, after all. After all, people can’t just go around saying, well, anything, really. You know, got to be careful, and all that. And the Saudis, well, Mecca and all that, you know? have to be careful, just in case…

  10. says

    Pelamun, I wasn’t referring to France; I’m well aware of that particular law. However, I find it very hard to believe that a Swiss court would have failed to extradite him if he hadn’t been famous, and if he hadn’t had a lot of vocal support from other famous people pulling for him. I may be wrong; it may be common for not-so-famous child rapists to go free in this manner, but I doubt it.

  11. says

    C. Mason,

    it certainly helped that he had the money to pay a bunch of very good lawyers.

    It actually would have been in the Swiss national interest to extradite him. The American government was coming down hard on Swiss banks for helping US citizens to evade their taxes, the Swiss press at the time said that turning down the request could be seen as an unnecessary snub. However, it wasn’t the Swiss government’s decision to make.

  12. mirax says

    Pelamun, you are behind times. The ‘liberal’ saudi king died and the bastard who sits on the throne is a hardliner who used to head their home ministry and torture and kill people. No one should put any kind of a gloss, no matter how well-meaning, on how bad things are.

  13. John says

    What’s so discouraging is the fact tens of thousands are just braying for his death.

    When South Africa was under apartheid, its leaders were isolated, shunned and their movements restricted.

    In terms of human rights, Saudi Arabia is teen times worse than the old South Africa, so why do we allows its portly, greaseball leadership to galavante about the globe drinking, gamlbing and screwing women?

    Why do we continue to allows these human rights violators to breeze in and out of Paris, London and New York at will as though they were the leaders of a thriving, open, democracy and not the bloodsoaked henchmen of the world’s most viscious, theorcratic dictatorship?

    Letting them land at Heathrow is like agreeing to waltz with Hitler.

    Tjhe BBC’s coverage of this is atrocious, by the way.

  14. says


    I was talking about the current king. He did try to implement some more reforms once he ascended the throne.

    But make no mistake, I wasn’t trying to justify what the regime is doing, merely saying that viewing Saudi Arabia, or even the entire Islamic world, as some people seem to do, as one monolithic entity, is counterproductive and not helpful for a better understanding of what’s going on there.


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