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Thursday, March 11, 2010

Saudi court sentences "sorcerer" to death

From the Arab News:
The General Court in Madinah upheld its verdict against 46-year-old accused Arab sorcerer Ali Hussein Subat (aka Scheherazade), saying he deserved death for publicly practicing black magic, thus spreading corruption on the earth.

The judges said they called for the execution of the man for his continuous practice of black magic and that he had been doing it publicly for several years before millions of viewers of a satellite channel.

The court insisted that the magician deserved death in order to make him an example and deterrent for others, especially for foreigners who come to the Kingdom to practice sorcery.

The magician was arrested at a hotel in Madinah two years ago. Members of the Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice seized a talisman where he had written the name of a man, his mother and wife.

Shahrzad acknowledged in front of the general court in Madinah that he had presented a black magic program on the Saudi Sports Channel. However, he claimed that he was practicing black magic during the past eight years in order to treat patients. He also admitted that he had called for the assistance of Satan, Jinn and talisman for his purpose.

"Satan, Jinn and Talisman" would also be a great name for a music group. Maybe country or bluegrass.

The article says that Subat was practicing his magic on the Saudi Sports Channel. You would think that they would cut him some slack; he was just trying to predict who would win the game. He's the Arab world's Jimmy the Greek!

We better keep Sesame Street's Amazing Mumford away from the Anti-Magic Kingdom. Not only does he practice magic, but his magic words are "Allah Peanut Butter Sandwich."


On a more serious note, HRW actually mentioned this case when Subat was arrested two years ago:

In March 2008, Human Rights Watch asked a high-ranking official in the Ministry of Justice to clarify the definition of the crime of witchcraft in Saudi Arabia and the evidence necessary for a court to prove such a crime. The official confirmed that no legal definition exists and could not clarify what evidence has probative value in witchcraft trials. Saudi Arabia has no penal code and in almost all cases gives judges the discretion to define acts they deem criminal and to set attendant punishments.