15 February 2008

Saudi Witch: Fawza Falih Muhammad Ali

Now before you say anything, it’s actually not as bad as it sounds.

I mean, technically they only beat her and forced a confession out of her. They could’ve thrown her in a deep well of water to see if she floats or drowns.

The Black Iris of Jordan is right. What are we complaining about?

Why is Human Rights Watch petitioning King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia to halt the execution by beheading of a witch who in 2006 was convicted of "witchcraft, recourse to jinn [supernatural beings], and slaughter of animals"? Fawza Falih Muhammad Ali is currently languishing in Quraiyat Prison having exhausted her appeals against the sentence. The illiterate defendant was arrested back in 2005, and allegedly beaten and obliged to fingerprint a confession that she couldn't read.

According to the petition by Human Rights Watch,
the court of did not define the meaning of “witchcraft”, but instead cited a variety of alleged actions, stated intentions, and “tools” for “witchcraft” in a weak attempt to suggest that “witchcraft” had indeed taken place. The court cited one instance in which a man allegedly became impotent after being “bewitched.” In another, a divorced woman reportedly returned to her ex-husband during the month predicted by the witch said to have cast the spell. The court failed to probe alternative explanations for these developments which appear to be ordinary phenomena.
Following Fawza Falih's conviction in April 2006, an appeals court ruled in September of that year that she could not be sentenced to death for 'witchcraft; as a crime against God because she had retracted her confession. However, lower court judges then sentenced her to death on a 'discretionary' basis, for the benefit of 'public interest' and to 'protect the creed, souls and property of this country.'

Oh, that's all right then.

Update 15/03/08: I've still not been able to find out anything about her fate. I'll keep trying. Meanwhile, you might want to read this blog post Saudi Witches and the Shari'a by Prof. Haider Ala Hamoudi. But, of course, he lives in America, as does the amazingly courageous woman, Dr Wafa Sultan ( via 3quarksdaily).

1 comment:

  1. Quite worthwhile piece of writing, lots of thanks for the article.


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