An expatriate living in Saudi Arabia has been convicted of sorcery and fraud, after selling a Saudi woman a herbal remedy to prevent her hair falling out.
Arabian Business reported that when the woman's hair continued to fall out she went to the police. The 40-year-old Arab expatriate had apparently charged the woman SR550,000 (US$147,000) for what was touted as a magical cure to promote hair growth.
According to Arab News the man agreed to accept payment for the hair treatment in installments. When the Saudi woman made the first payment of SR 20,000 she received some herbs wrapped in a white cloth. When police arrested the man he had an incriminating hand-written list of magic ingredients and a black gemstone ring.
The police arrested the expatriate on charges of fraud and sorcery. The Riyadh General Court sentenced the man to six years in prison and 600 lashes. The sentence is lenient in comparison to that meted out to a Sudanese man convicted on sorcery charges, who was beheaded in September 2011. International coverage of his death may have influenced the Saudi courts relative leniency in this instance, as sorcery remains a crime punishable by death in the Kingdom.