A migrant worker from the Sudan was beheaded yesterday as the punishment for practicing sorcery in Saudi Arabia. Amnesty International had campaigned to release the man with no avail.
A Sudanese man convicted of sorcery was beheaded by sword on Sept. 20, in Medina, Saudi Arabia. The Saudi Gazette says the Interior Ministry issued a statement saying the African had “’Practiced witchcraft and sorcery,’ which are illegal under Shariah law.”
Abdul Hamid bin Hussein Mostafa al-Fakki, a migrant worker from Sudan, was arrested in 2005 in Medina on charges of witchcraft, by the Mutawa’een, the religious police known as the Committee for the Propagation of Virtue and Prevention of Vice. His trial was held in secret in 2007 and according to Bikyamasr al-Fakki was found guilty of “Producing a spell designed to lead to the reconciliation of his client’s divorced parents.”
Amnesty International have been campaigning for al-Fakkis release, saying he “Appears to have been convicted solely for the peaceful exercise of his rights to freedom of expression and religion.” Amnesty state that al-Fakki was entrapped by an agent from the Mutaw’een who offered al-Fakki the sum of 6,000 SR ($1,600) to produce a spell. The spell was to lead the man’s father to leave his second wife to return to his first wife. Al-Fakki produced papers containing spells in return for money. What may be considered a scam has resulted in the death of al-Fakki.
As news of the beheading was released, Malcolm Strong of Amnesty International said “That he should have been executed without having committed anything that would appear to constitute a crime is yet another deeply upsetting example of why the Saudi Arabian government should immediately cease executions and take steps to abolish the death penalty."Sorcery is one of several crimes that can be punished by death in the Kingdom. Others include rape, murder, apostasy, drug trafficking, adultery and armed robbery. The beheading of al-Fakki now brings the number executed in Saudi Arabia this year to 44.