We noticed you're blocking ads.

Keep supporting great journalism by turning off your ad blocker.

Questions about why you are seeing this? Contact us

Font Size

- Aa +

Fri 12 Mar 2010 05:04 PM

Font Size

- Aa +

Saudi court upholds death sentence against 'sorcerer'

Court announces death verdict to set an example and deterrent for others.

General Court in Madinah upheld its verdict against 46-year-old accused Arab sorcerer Ali Hussein Subat (also called Shahrzad), according to a report.

The court said that Shahrzad deserved death for publicly practicing black magic, thus spreading corruption on the earth, the Arab News reported on Friday.

In a statement on Wednesday, the court said it was not convinced by the appeal bench’s rejection of its verdict against the sorcerer and its attempt to ask the man to repent.

“All evidence proved that he was practicing black magic,” the court said.

The general court has now passed the case back to the Appeals Court in Makkah, Arab News said.

The court insisted that the magician deserved death in order to make him an example and deterrent for others, especially for foreigners who come to the Kingdom to practice sorcery.

The magician was arrested at a hotel in Madinah two years ago. Members of the Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice seized a talisman where he had written the name of a man, his mother and wife, the daily added.

Shahrzad admitted in front of the general court in Madinah that he had presented a black magic program on the Saudi Sports Channel. However, he claimed that he was practicing black magic during the past eight years in order to treat patients, Arab News said.

Arabian Business: why we're going behind a paywall

Behrooz 10 years ago

The last thing I can ever imagine as fair is to sentence someone to death, to set an example for others, specially foreigners. Is this a court of justice? A man should prosecute for his fault, and punishment must be appropriate to what he has done. Not for what other may do or learn. I feel sorry for such a judge.

Sergei Kuk 10 years ago

Middle Ages and one foot in the 21st Century. A wholly unfair sentence. Maybe charge him with fraud or something, but death sentence merely shows Saudi to still not be a fair Country.

Nicola 10 years ago

Many sorcerer who practiced black magics have ruined people's lives. The zero tolerance against them may be a rightful approach, but death might be too tough though.

MUMBO JUMBO 10 years ago

“All evidence proved that he was practicing black magic,” the court said. Like what?, what did you do, put him in the water to see if he drowned? He did'nt so he must be a 'sorcerer' and deserves the death sentence. Dudes, that is barbaric! get with the century!

M.Sag 10 years ago

It should make people wonder why no human rights groups voice their concern over the travesty of justice during trails in Saudi Arabia. It is an open secret that Saudi has a long way to go when it comes to executing justice. Public beheading, public lashing, caning by the so called religious police, a skwed justice system ..you name it all, all these sum up to the medieval mentality of stuck to the age old tribal customs and traditons, when the whole world is striving to improve their social system and moving forward to 21st century... If there is a double standard followed by western nations, then it is just turning a bline eye towards such inhuman leagal practices..

Dubai 10 years ago

@ M.Sag, Mumbo Jumbo, Sergei, Behrooz. Open your eyes and see whats going around you, before commenting on Saudi Arabia Judges. Lets take example of United States. Still 35 states have death penalty plus US Govt and US Military. As on 1-July-09, 3279 death row inmates are in these states. Last year more than 100 inmates were executed. The different way of execution are Lethal Injection, Electrocution, Gas Chamber, Hanging and Firing Squad. Yes this is the 21st Century. People should respect the law of the land. Black Magic, Rape, Murder, Incest, Extortion etc must be a household story in the West or the so called 21st Century World however in our part of the World these are serious crimes and are dealth strictly to safeguard public. There is no single law or practice in the World which can be implemented everywhere. We have seen the perils of democracy in Arab World. The West should keep their 21st Century standards and let us live in our peaceful World.

Hont 10 years ago

"Many sorcerer who practiced black magics have ruined people's lives." For sure? A bit of mumbo jumbo that affects people who allow themselves to believe in it. many people who drive badly have ruined peoples lives, whether you believe it or not. That is a real truth yet you never see them getting the death sentence. and Saudi Arabia further cements its position as the guardian of the dark ages. Hooray!

Valiyakath 10 years ago

Somebody has got the who idea wrong here..The whole issue was about the comparabale punishment to be meted out to an individual who commits a crime. Death penality for sorcery ? No I dont agree with that. In the medieval times , yes it was practised. Even if you vouch for the arguiment an eye for an eye , this does not amount to such gravity, because people who approach such people for help are either equally ignorant about its fallacy or are equally responsible. By the way where did the US statistics come from...? Fine, then think about the population . You are talking about that numbers out of over 300 million people in the US V/S just 28 million Saudi Arabia . Then statistically , the number of people on the death row far outwieght in Saudi than in the US ! Regardless, i am opposed to dealth penality altogether whether in US or in Saudi. I beleive it should raise to a level that it questions the very nature of ethical of moral rightousness as we claim to have beocme more civilized over the years. No, you cannot live in this world by just putting people to death row on a daily basis . It needs much more humane and rational approach from individuals and socieital levels ....

Ritta 10 years ago

Death sentence for a sorcerer is totally unfair I agree and totally in-human. But that doesn’t mean that Saudi Arabia is still in the old ages ! Saudi arabia like any other country has its rules and has its ways of dealing with things! I am talking here about the way that everyone is attacking the country without knowing the basis and knowing the culture nor way of living ! if the life style is not like the western countries then it is in the old ages? That’s totally not true and cannot be said ! a respect should go to the people who live there, and the people who might be suffering from certain constrains and rules and by the way many are living a good life over there. So no one can judge unless you actually visit and go deep in the culture. But again I don’t agree having a death sentence for a sorcerer who is actually causing disruption in the society, another judgmental solution is always preferable, at the end it is a life of a human being.

Marlow McGuinness 10 years ago

... that sorcery isn't real? As the chief of police in Port Moresby (Papua New Guinea) once said, 'witchcraft is a very difficult crime to prove'.