Rights group Amnesty International has described as
"deeply shocking" Saudi Arabia's beheading of a woman convicted on
charges of "sorcery and witchcraft", saying it underlined the urgent
need to end executions in the kingdom.
Saudi national Amina bint Abdul Halim bin Salem Nasser was
executed on Monday in the northern province of al-Jawf after being tried and
convicted for practising sorcery, the interior ministry said, without giving
details of the charges
"The citizen... practised acts of witchcraft and
sorcery," Saudi newspaper al-Watan cited the interior ministry as saying.
"The death sentence was carried out on the accused yesterday [Monday] in the
Qurayyat district in al-Jawf region".
Saudi Arabia, an absolute monarchy, has no written criminal
code, which is instead based on an uncodified form of Islamic sharia law as
interpreted by the country's judges
"While we don't know the details of the acts which the
authorities accused Amina of committing, the charge of sorcery has often been
used in Saudi Arabia to punish people, generally after unfair trials, for
exercising their right to freedom of speech or religion," Philip Luther,
interim director of Amnesty's Middle East and North Africa programme, said in a
Amnesty said the execution was the second of its kind in
recent months. A Sudanese national was beheaded in the Saudi city of Medina in
September after being convicted on sorcery charges, according to the
Amnesty put at 79 the number of executions in Saudi Arabia
so far this year, nearly triple the figure in 2010.
Subscribe to Arabian Business' newsletter to receive the latest breaking news and business stories in Dubai,the UAE and the GCC straight to your inbox.