Feb 13, 2008

Jailed Saudi Blogger

We repeat our correspondence with Minister Peters' press secretary James Funnell about jailed Saudi blogger Foud al-Farhan. We encourage readers who are also supportive of New Zealand adopting a more proactive stance on this issue to write to Minister Peters.

Dear James

Many thanks. We are pleased that you were not responsible for the Thales speech. We were there. It was one of those "please open up earth and swallow us" moments for all the NZers in the room. The Thales people were mortified. Luckily for your boss the only journo in the room (this was before The Hive forced us into a second profession) was from Computer World. The head of the europe Division of MFAT (fellow with a beard) was there and no doubt wrote a note. Heather Roy was there also. Winston was introduced as Foreign Minister and said that he was Foreign Minister while delivering the speech by the way.

Thanks for the update on Foud al-Farhan. We would encourage direct representations - as the US has done. Kind regards

The Hive

> Subject: Re: > To: thehive@windowslive.com>
From: James.Funnell@parliament.govt.nz> Date: Wed, 13 Feb 2008 10:47:24 +1300> >

The detention of the Saudi Blogger Foud Al-Farhan is something the New> Zealand embassy in Riyadh is monitoring closely, alongside likeminded> diplomatic missions in Saudi, including Canada, Australia, the UK,> Netherlands, Finland, Germany and Norway.

At this stage none of the missions, including New Zealand, are planning to> make an official protest, but that stance is being kept under review.

I'm afraid I can't help you on the Thale speech -- it was given by Winston> in his capacity as Leader of New Zealand First, rather than Foreign> Minister, so I played no part in putting the speech together. Further, I> was told that in the end Winston spoke fairly much off the cuff and did not> follow the notes that had been prepared for him.

> > James Funnell
> Senior Press Secretary
> Office of the Minister of Foreign Affairs