Saudi Woman Executed For “Witchcraft”

It is a dark day in the Arab world as a woman in Saudi Arabia has been executed for the supposed crime of practising witchcraft. The staunch US ally’s state news agency said Amina bint Abdul Halim bin Salem Nasser was beheaded on Monday in the northern province of Jawf. No further details on the charges the woman faces have been release by the ministry. She is the second person this year to be executed for this supposed crime. Earlier in September a Sudanese man was executed for the same reason.

Given what information is available by the London-based newspaper al-Hayat, religious police claim the woman told people she could cure them of any particular illness if they gave her money. The woman was in her 60s and the al-Hayat correspondent says she was arrested in April 2009.

In an interesting development, the human rights group, Amnesty International, says they were not aware this woman had been on trial or had even been arrested. In previous cases Amnesty International had protested such court cases. They protested the Sudanese man who was executed but had never heard of the woman Amina, saying the case was new to them.

Previously a Lebanese man in his 40s named Ali Sabat was slated to be executed by the highest Saudi court for sorcery while he was on a pilgrimage in 2008. Sabat was the host of a satellite TV programme in which he predicted the future. Amnesty International said Mr Sabat seemed to have been convicted for “exercising of his right to freedom of expression”.

To me it seems like in the cases of both these individuals they were both just con-people and the state may be using this as an excuse to justify brutal repression. Or they may be just be using this as a means of scaring people into control, they same way Christians use terrorism and Gays.