Saudi academic released after questioning on defamation charges
Saudi academic Ahmad bin Rashid bin Saeed al-Tamimi has been released one day after being called in for questioning by Mecca police, after the Saudi-owned news channel al-Arabiya took legal action against him.
Tamimi - widely known by his Twitter handle @loveliberty - was released on Tuesday after being questioned about defamation charges the channel filed against him, sources close to the academic told The New Arab.
The professor of political communication is a long-time critic of the MBC media empire and its news channel al-Arabiya.
He shot to fame after his online campaign #DeconstructingZionistNarratives, which took aim at the network's "biased" news coverage. It garnered a huge pan-Arab following and hundreds of thousands of engagements.
On Sunday, Bin Rashid called for a boycott of MBC and other "Zionist propaganda mouthpieces" in a series of tweets directed at the channel's chairman Waleed al-Ibrahim.
The Arabic-language hashtag #WeAreAllBinRashid gained traction on Twitter shortly after he was arrested.
Translation: "The legend of deconstructing Zionist narratives. Ahmad, your head will always be held up high."
Bin Rashid has amassed a cult-like following in Saudi Arabia and many other countries for being a vocal critic of al-Arabiya's coverage of Israel and despotic Arab regimes.
His high-profile led to a famous Saudi Ramadan comedy series on MBC, making a sketch about him in 2013.