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Saudi Arabia: Woman Convicted Of 'Sorcery' Executed

Publication Date: 
December 12, 2011

RIYADH, Saudi Arabia — Saudi authorities have executed a woman convicted of practicing magic and sorcery.

The Saudi Interior Ministry says in a statement the execution took place Monday, but gave no details on the woman's crime.

The London-based al-Hayat daily, however, quoted Abdullah al-Mohsen, chief of the religious police who arrested the woman, as saying she had tricked people into thinking she could treat illnesses, charging them $800 per session.

The paper said a female investigator followed up, and the woman was arrested in April, 2009, and later convicted in a Saudi court.

It did not give the woman's name, but said she was in her 60s.

The execution brings the total to 76 this year in Saudi Arabia, according to an Associated Press count. At least three have been women.

Amnesty International issued a statement expressing shock at the incident, noting that the woman was beheaded. Amnesty's interim Director of the Middle East and North Africa Programme, Philip Luther, condemned the execution:

"The charges of 'witchcraft and sorcery' are not defined as crimes in Saudi Arabia and to use them to subject someone to the cruel and extreme penalty of execution is truly appalling."

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