Lebanese Man to be Beheaded for Practicing “Sorcery”

***Update***: The execution is now on hold.

Ali Hussain Sibat was the host of a popular show in Lebanon in which he “would predict the future on his show and give out advice to his audience.”

In other words, he was a Middle Eastern Miss Cleo.

Two years ago, he went to Saudi Arabia to perform the Umrah.

While he was there, police arrested him and took him to trial:

… the judges in Medina issued a statement expressing that Sibat deserved to be executed for having continually practiced black magic on his show, adding that this sentence would deter others from practicing sorcery.

They’re going to behead him on Friday for practicing something that isn’t even real.

I’m all for stopping con artists who make money by pretending to see the future, but this punishment far exceeds his “crime.”

May El Khansa, the attorney for Ali Hussain Sibat, told CNN that she and Sibat’s family were informed about the upcoming execution…

El Khansa said she has appealed to Lebanon’s prime minister, Saad Hariri, and president, Michel Suleiman, to stop the execution. Amnesty International, the human rights group, has called on Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah to block it as well.

I hope someone can get through to them, but I’m not optimistic. The Saudi government is stuck in medieval times and they have a long way to go before they will come to their senses.

(Thanks to Brian for the link)

  • Tony Heskett
  • Mark F

    Gee, you think he would have seen it coming before he even went to Saudi Arabia. He should have used that in his defense, “It’s all just pretend.”

  • http://therightatheist.blogspot.com Hortensio

    Hopefully King Abdullah will realize how foolish this makes his administration look and pardon Sibat – the king at least occasionally caves to international pressure over the more insane rulings of the Saudi ‘justice’ system.

    Though without legal reform someone else will die eventually under that idiotic law.

  • Revyloution

    Jumpin Jebus, I wish this was an April Fools joke. As much as I wish Silvia Brown and John Edwards would just disappear, I would never wish them beheaded.

  • littlejohn

    Hey, be fair! He was fucking with people by running a scam. I’m against the death penalty, except for this one offense. Rapists and thieves should get 10 years; murderers should get 20, psychics should be beheaded. People who come to my door to convert me to their religion should be beaten to senseless by me. This is all completely reasonable.

  • littlejohn

    “Beaten to senseless.” My brain seems to be aging faster than the rest of me.

  • Jim Baerg

    littlejohn:

    Aren’t they already senseless when they come to your door?

  • Killer Bee

    I’m taking up a collection for Sylvia Browne and her ilk to enjoy an all-expense-paid vacation to Saudi Arabia.

    It wouldn’t take much talking to get me behind Saudi Arabia’s penal system. I’d probably try to keep the beheadings in a separate area from the playground, softy that I am.

  • Gibbon

    Actually, it is more like pre-Islamic Arabia that the Saudi government is stuck in.

  • L.Long

    When you believe the absolute BS of islam, believing in magic is easy!!!

  • Richard Wade

    As much as the Saudi court’s ruling is barbaric and ludicrous, I must confess it is amusingly ironic that a psychic was arrested and condemned because somebody actually believes he can do what he pretends he can do.

    I wonder if he tried to defend himself by pointing out that his predictions had not come true.

  • Staceyjw

    How awful! I can’t believe they can arrest someone for doing something OUTSIDE of their country! But any nation that wants to arrest and kill people for “sorcery” isn’t exactly rational. Mid-evil, indeed.
    And to think, he was being a good Muslim by going for his pilgrimage! THAT’S IRONIC!

  • Stephen P

    It appears that not only does Saudi Arabia want to execute someone for a comparatively trivial crime, but for an action that was not committed in Saudi Arabia and was apparently legal in the country where it was committed. They really do seem to want to bend over backwards to appear backward.

    Having said that: threatening to execute someone, getting them really frightened and then letting them go would seem to be a particularly appropriate penalty for fraudulent fortune-tellers. After all, for anyone who could really foretell the future it wouldn’t be a punishment.

  • DDM

    Beheading is also the punishment for apostasy in that country. I don’t know which of the two is the worse reason to behead someone: apostasy or black magic.

  • http://religiouscomics.net Jeff P

    @littlejohn “psychics should be beheaded”

    I knew you were going to say that. oops!!! :o

    And for door to door evangelists “beaten to senseless”… aren’t they already senseless? I guess they get away with that one.

  • fritzy

    “I’m all for stopping con artists who make money by pretending to see the future, but this punishment far exceeds his “crime.””

    But he isn’t being killed because he’s a con-artist. He’s being killed for just the opposite–because the Saudi’s actually believe he has psychic powers. Because some cultures have not evolved beyond magical thinking, tribal ethics and blood sacrifice. Because Allah appears to be powerless to stop such things himself.

    Why is it that the rest of the world is so afraid to speak the truth–that some cultures are more ethically and morally advanced than others? That this kind of behavior is reprehensible? That we cannot accept this kind of barbarism in a modern world?

    Oh yeah, they have oil.

  • James H

    This really ticked me off because the Saudi police arrested him for “crimes” he committed WHILE IN ANOTHER COUNTRY. These guys never hear of jurisdictional issues?

  • Elis

    Actually, it is more like pre-Islamic Arabia that the Saudi government is stuck in.

    Gibbon, you’re implying pre-Islam Arabia was even worst, which I believe is not true. Muslims call pre-Islam era Jahiliyyah, which is derived from the word ignorant.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jahiliyyah

    From my understanding of pre-Islamic Arabia, it wasn’t all good, but no where near as bad as Muslims portray it. It’s probably an improvement over current Saudi Arabia :)

  • Arab Athiest

    It is easy to laugh off all these tragic events that affect our lives in the region on a daily basis. We live in absolute fear from being found out.


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