Kashgari, 23, a poet and a columnist for the Jeddah-based daily Al-Bilad, came under fire after posting comments on his Twitter account that described a fanciful conversation in which he addressed the Prophet Muhammad as an equal. Facing death threats, he fled Saudi Arabia for Malaysia only to be arrested and extradited back home. He faced charges of “disrespecting God” and “insulting the Prophet,” which could bring the death penalty upon conviction.
Although he deleted the postings within hours and issued a public apology, a Facebook page calling for his execution attracted more than 30,000 members. More than 25,000 people signed a petition seeking his release. Kashgari was being held in a Riyadh prison pending trial in late year.