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Sudanese man executed in Saudi Arabia for ’witchcraft and sorcery’

By Toby Collins

September 21, 2011 (LONDON) – A migrant worker from Sudan was beheaded by sword in Medina by the Saudi government for practising occultism on Monday, despite the efforts of international lobbyists.

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Execution by beheading, Saudi Arabia (Amnesty International)

The Saudi Ministry of Interior announced the execution of Abdul Hamid bin Hussein Mostafa al-Fakki for the crime of "witchcraft and sorcery", which contravenes shariah law, according to the Saudi Gazette.

It was reported by the Egyptian news agency, Bikya Masr, that the court accused al-Fakki of "producing a spell designed to lead to the reconciliation of his client’s divorced parents."

Since al-Fakki’s arrest in 2005 and conviction in 2007 the London-based human rights advocacy organisation Amnesty International (AI) have been gravely concerned about his fate.

Philip Luther, Deputy Director of Amnesty International’s Middle East and North Africa programme said al-Fakki was "convicted solely for the peaceful exercise of his rights to freedom of expression and religion".

AI claim al-Fakki was entrapped by a member of the Saudi religious police claiming that he would pay 6,000 Saudi Arabian riyals (US$1,600) for a spell which would make his father divorce his second wife and return to the agent provacateur’s biological mother.

According to AI, there have been 44 executions so far this year in Saudi Arabia, in comparison to 27 the year before.

In 2010 AI estimated Saudi Arabia was the 6th most prolific state executer after the US, Yemen, North Korea, Iran and most zealous of them all, China which executed more than the rest of the world combined.

In 2009 the Lebanese talk show host, Ali Hussain Sibat, was sentenced to death for sorcery because he claimed to predict the future on his TV show. In 2010 the charges were dropped by Saudi authorities, then reinstated and he was given temporary reprieve.

Sorcery isn’t actually defined as a crime in Saudi Arabian law, but it’s been used to punish people for the peaceful expression of human rights such as the freedom of thought, belief, conscience and expression. In fact, scores of people were arrested for sorcery in 2009”, claim AI.

In 2005 an Indian man was sentenced by a Saudi court to have his eye gouged out for his involvement in a brawl.

At least 27 people have been executed so far this year - a surge since last year and concentrated around the period after the holy month of ramadan.

In June 2011 an Indonesian woman was beheaded for the alleged murder of a Saudi Arabian woman.

In the Saudi gamete of capital punishment is stoning, firing squad and posthumous crucifixion; and for corporal punishment there is amputation and lashing.

(ST)