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    » 02/15/2008, 00.00

    SAUDI ARABIA

    Death to a witch in Quraiyat



    Charged for witchcraft in 2005 Fawza Falih is sentenced to death. Human Rights Watch writes to Saudi King Abdullah asking him to stop absurd execution.

    Quraiyat (AsiaNews/Agencies) – Witch hunting is not a thing of the past, at least not in Saudi Arabia. A court in the oil-rich kingdom handed down a death sentence against Fawza Falih, a woman accused of witchcraft, stunning NGO Human Rights Watch which has reacted by appealing to Saudi King Abdullah to stop the execution.

    The illiterate woman was detained by religious police in 2005 for allegedly causing impotence in one of her accusers.

    Ms Falih said that she was beaten and forced to fingerprint a confession that she could not understand because she cannot read.

    Saudi Arabia does not have a written criminal code and witchcraft is not defined as a crime. Yet the Saudi court in charge of the case passed a death sentence exercising its own discretionary powers to protect the nation’s principles, soul and identity.

    For Joe Stork, Middle East director at Human Rights Watch, this case underscores Saudi judges’ inability to carry out objective criminal investigations.

    “Fawza Falih’s case is an example of how the authorities failed to comply even with existing safeguards in the Saudi justice system,” he added.

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    See also

    01/08/2005 SAUDI ARABIA
    King Abdullah, a cautious reformer on the Saudi throne (Overview)


    01/08/2005 SAUDI ARABIA
    King Fahd, between openness to the US and support for Islamic fundamentalism (Overview)


    02/08/2005 SAUDI ARABIA
    King Fahd laid to rest amidst tight security and public indifference
    Dignitaries from 36 countries attend the funeral, but locals shrug off the event: "He didn't do anything for us".

    24/05/2008 SAUDI ARABIA
    A film festival in a land without movie theatres
    The event marks a significant step in Saudi Arabia where movie theatres are banned and DVDs are censored. Unusually for a place like Saudi Arabia, men and women were in the same hall, albeit separated by a glass partition.

    26/01/2007 SAUDI ARABIA
    Riyadh should “stop religious persecution of Ahmadis”
    In an open letter to the king of Saudi Arabia, Human Rights Watch calls for an end to the wave of arrests, detentions and deportations against the Ahmadi community, which is considered heretical by Islamic extremists.



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