Monday, December 12, 2011
A woman convicted of practising magic and sorcery has been executed by Saudi Islamic authorities
The Saudi Interior Ministry says in a statement that the woman was beheaded. The London-based al-Hayat daily quoted Abdullah al-Mohsen, chief of the Islamic religious police who arrested the woman, as saying that she had tricked people into thinking she could treat illnesses, charging them $800 per session. The newspaper said that a female investigator followed the case up, and the woman was arrested in April 2009 and later convicted in a Saudi Islamic court. It did not give the woman's name, but said that she was in her 60s. The execution brings the total to 76 in 2011 in Saudi Arabia. At least three have been women, and 11 were foreign nationals. In September 2011, a Sudanese man, Abdul Hamid bin Hussain bin Moustafa al-Fakki, was also put to death in Saudi Arabia for sorcery. Amnesty International has called for the kingdom's government to establish an immediate moratorium on executions. The crime of sorcery is not defined in Saudi Arabian law but it has been used to punish people for the legitimate exercise of their human rights, including their right to freedom of expression, the charity said.