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Writer extradited over tweets on Prophet Mohammed

By Ashley Gallagher, CNN
updated 3:02 PM EST, Sun February 12, 2012
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • The Saudi writer tweeted about the Prophet Mohammed
  • Human rights groups fear he will face the death penalty
  • Saudi officials did not immediately respond to requests for comment

(CNN) -- Malaysian authorities extradited Saudi writer Hamza Kashgari back to Saudi Arabia Sunday on a warrant for his arrest over statements he made on Twitter.

"Saudi media said Hamza made a posting on the Prophet Mohammed's birthday celebration last week, implying that he was interacting with the prophet, as if they were equal status," Malaysia's state news agency said.

The tweets have been removed.

Kashgari was deported Sunday morning, said Ramli Yoosuf, a spokesman for the Royal Malaysian Police. "The Saudi Arabian Embassy in Kuala Lumpur had arranged for his deportation."

After speaking with an immigration official, Kashgari's lawyer Muhammad Afiq Bin Mohammad Noor confirmed that his client was taken at 10 a.m. local time on a Saudi jet.

Noor said he was granted an interim court order on Sunday afternoon to prevent officials from deporting Kashgari, but it came too late.

Amnesty International and other human rights groups are concerned that Kashgari's extradition will lead to his facing the death penalty in Saudi Arabia.

"Amnesty International considers Hamza Kashgari a prisoner of conscience...for peacefully exercising his right to freedom of expression and calls for his immediate and unconditional release," the group said in a statement.

Saudi officials did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Kashgari's controversial tweets included language saying he loved some aspects of Mohammed and "hated" others, and will "not pray for you," according to news reports.

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