Khobar (AsiaNews / Agencies) - A court in Al-Khobar, Saudi city east of the Gulf, has sentenced a Lebanese Christian to prison and flogging for having converted a young Saudi man to Christianity and helped a young woman escape from the country. The first considered the organizer of the operation, was sentenced to six years in prison and 300 lashes. The Saudi was charged as an accomplice to two years and 200 lashes. Both worked with the girl in an insurance company. The two have announced an appeal.
The case, which began last year in late July, has caused a stir in Saudi Arabia, an ultra-conservative kingdom which applies a strict version of Islam. Muslims who convert to another religion risk the death penalty.
So far, investigators have not revealed the identity of the young woman, who for several months has taken refuge in Sweden and refuses to return home despite the various appeals of her family, and various negotiations between the Saudi embassy in Stockholm and Swedish authorities to hand over the girl. She is currently under the protection of non-governmental organizations and in a video posted recently appeared claiming to have chosen to convert to Christianity without being under any duress.