Thursday, April 01, 2010

Beheading on "sorcery" charges expected on Friday

It appears for now that Saudi Arabia is going ahead with the death sentence for Lebanese TV host Ali Hussain Sibat. Beheading is set for tomorrow (Friday). Let me repeat it again. A Lebanese man is expected to be beheaded in Saudi Arabia - not for any mass murder or for inciting violence against the Saudi government - but for claiming to be a psychic on a TV show in his native country. This is the totality of his crime - for which he is going to be killed. Shame on Saudi Arabia if they carry on this execution. Hoping for sanity to prevail in the next 24 hours.

The witch-trials in 16th and 17th century Europe are considered as a response to modernity. Change is scary and people like to find escape goats. Saudi Arabia is also facing its extremes. Just last year, it inaugurated King Abdullah University of Science & Technology (KAUST) - promising liberties for students unheard of in the Kingdom and offering cutting-edge education to the youth. When a cleric criticized the co-ed nature of the university, he was promptly removed via a Royal decree. But it seems that medieval-style barbarism, as evidence by its "witchcraft" trial, is also not too far from the surface. Change is indeed coming. But this trial shows that the road is going to be a bumpy one.

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1 comment:

Tom Rees said...

Amnesty has an Urgent Action appeal. Everyone should take part.