A Sri Lankan woman has been arrested in Saudi Arabia on suspicion that she cast a spell on a 13-year-old shopper. The woman could face death penalty by beheading. Saudi Arabia has been known to behead people convicted on charges of witchcraft.
Reuters reports police spokesman Mesfir al-Juayed, has confirmed the details of the woman's arrest reported in the local media.
According to a local newspaper the Daily Okaz, a Saudi man complained that during a family shopping trip, his daughter suddenly began "acting in an abnormal way and that happened after she came close to the Sri Lankan woman." The Sri Lankan woman was in a large shopping mall in the port city of Jeddah. According to Reuters, the man reported the Sri Lankan woman to the police and asked for her arrest. "Specialized units dealt with the situation swiftly and succeeded in arresting" the woman.
Reuters reports Saudi Arabia, a U.S. ally, is an absolute monarchy with no written criminal code. Court rulings are based on judges' interpretation of the Islamic code.
A Saudi lawyer and human rights activist Waleed Abu al-Khair, said, "The punishment is always beheading for anyone found guilty of witchcraft."
Digital Journal reports Saudi Arabia has in the past carried out execution by beheading following conviction on charges of "sorcery and witchcraft." According to Digital Journal, Amnesty International recently condemned the Saudi authorities after a woman was beheaded for allegedly practicing witchcraft and sorcery. "The woman, Amina bin Abdulhalim Nassar, was executed in Saudi Arabia's northern province of Al Jawf."
Digital Journal also reports that a Sudanese was beheaded in Medina in September, after he was convicted of sorcery.