***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)