Indian Man, Held in Saudi Arabia in December 2019 Over FB Messages, Returns Home
Harish's Facebook profile had defamatory messages against Saudi Arabia’s crown prince Mohammad bin Salman in 2019.
Harish Bangera, who was arrested in Saudi Arabia in December 2019 for allegedly posting defamatory messages on social media, was released and returned to India on Wednesday, 19 August.
Harish, an air condition repair technician, hails from Beejadi near Kundapur in Udupi district of Karnataka. He was welcomed at the Bengaluru International Airport by his wife Sumana who is an anganwadi teacher, his daughter Hanishka and his friends.
He was arrested after a Facebook profile in his name posted defamatory messages online against Saudi Arabia’s crown prince Mohammad bin Salman.
The same profile also posted messages suggesting that another Ram Mandir be built at Mecca, which is the revered holy site by a majority of Muslims across the world.
However, last year the Udupi district police had registered a case against two brothers for allegedly hacking Harish Bangera's social media account and posting provocative messages.
The two persons mentioned in the charge sheet were Abdul Uais and Abdul Tuves, who are from Moodabidri. They were accused of hacking Harish's Facebook account and posting derogatory messages from it. This was after Harish's wife Sumana had filed a police complaint at the Udupi Cyber Crime police station.
The Udupi police shared its findings with the Ministry of External Affairs. But there was a delayed response from authorities in Saudi Arabia for many months in 2020.
Harish's employers had also sacked him over the alleged post. His wife Sumana had flagged that it was a fake post in December 2019 when the controversy broke out.
(This article was first published in The News Minute and republished here with permission.)
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