22 March 2018

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11/26/2009 SAUDI ARABIA

Riyadh: man to be decapitated for witchcraft

In a recent report, Human Rights Watch calls for the sentence to be overturned. Each year, dozens of people are convicted in the desert kingdom for acts against Sharia.

Riyadh (AsiaNews/Agencies) – Saudi Arabia should overturn a death sentence imposed on a Lebanese national convicted of practicing witchcraft during a visit to the conservative kingdom, Human Rights Watch (HRW) said in a report. The international human rights group also complained about the increasing use of charges of 'witchcraft,' crimes that are vaguely defined and arbitrarily used, to arbitrarily arrest and detain people across the kingdom.

The report highlights ongoing complaints over the Saudi justice system, which, whilst based on Islamic law, leaves a wide leeway to individual judges and can often result in dramatically inconsistent sentences.

Ali Sibat, a Lebanese psychic who made predictions on a satellite TV channel from his home in Beirut, was arrested by religious police in the holy city of Madinah during a pilgrimage in May 2008 and then sentenced to death by decapitation on 9 November this year.

“He was the most popular psychic on the channel,” said May al-Khansa, Sibat’s lawyer. “The number of callers, including from all over the Gulf, spiked in number when he appeared,” she added. “He was told if he confessed to witchcraft, he will be released and allowed to return to Lebanon.”

Sibat’s case is not unique. Dozens of people are arrested each year on charges like witchcraft, recourse to supernatural beings, black magic and fortune telling. These practices are considered polytheistic and severely punished according to Sharia rules.

HRW’s report also mentioned the case of Mustafa Ibrahim, an Egyptian pharmacist who was executed on 2 November 2007 for sorcery, which he allegedly used to break up a married couple.

In October 2006, a criminal court in the city of Jiddah convicted Eritrean national Muhammad Burhan for being a "charlatan," based on a leather-bound personal phone booklet containing writing in Eritrea's Tigrinya alphabet, and sentenced him to 20 months in prison and 300 lashes. He was eventually deported after serving more than double the time in prison.

See also

03/10/2017 09:53:00 SAUDI ARABIA
Saudi Arabia reaches one hundred executions in 2017

The convict was executed for the murder of a fellow citizen. Recently the sentence was confirmed in appeal. Since July, the authorities have conducted an average of five executions per week. Activists denounce government's justice "frenzy". Among the reforms to promote the "moratorium on the death penalty".

11/10/2017 08:58:00 UN - ASIA
U.N. Chief says death penalty has 'no place in 21st century’

He urged member states that still carry out executions to join the 170 countries that have halted or abolished the practice. China, Iran, Saudi Arabia and Iraq responsible for 87 per cent of all recorded executions. In 2016, executions worldwide were down 37 per cent from 2015. The risk of a miscarriage of justice is an "unacceptably high price" to pay.


20/04/2012 SAUDI ARABIA
Sri Lanka woman accused of sorcery could be beheaded in Saudi Arabia
She was arrested after a man complained that his daughter started acting strangely during a trip to a shopping centre in Jeddah after they came close to the Sri Lankan. Since September, two people have been put to death for the same reason.

21/03/2018 09:31:00 SAUDI ARABIA - INDONESIA
Saudi executions continue as Indonesian migrant beheaded for (alleged) homicide

The 53-year-old Zaini Misrin was sentenced to death. He was accused of killing his employer in 2004. During the trial, the right to defence was denied and the confession was extorted with deception. Since the rise to power of Mohammed bin Salman the number of executions have doubled.

16/10/2008 SAUDI ARABIA
For Saudi human rights association death penalty is lawful
Group spokesman criticises a report by Amnesty International, which says that capital punishment is unfairly imposed; defends rules, stressing that Sharia is the law of the land. Last year 158 people were killed this way.

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