Amnesty International: Saudi Beheading for Sorcery ‘Appalling’

Posted December 12th, 2011 at 6:55 pm (UTC-5)
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Amnesty International says Saudi Arabia has beheaded a woman convicted of “witchcraft and sorcery.”

The U.S.-based rights group says Saudi national Amina bin Salem Nasser was executed Monday in the northern province of al-Jawf.

Amnesty International called the beheading “deeply shocking” and it urged Saudi Arabia to halt all beheadings in the kingdom.

The group's interim director of the Middle East and North Africa program, Philip Luther, said witchcraft and sorcery charges are not defined as crimes in Saudi Arabia. He said to use those charges to place the “extreme” penalty of death on someone is “truly appalling.”

Amnesty says Saudi Arabia carried out a similar execution for witchcraft in September.

The Saudi government has frequently carried out executions. However, the rights group says the number of executions in the kingdom has nearly tripled this year, from 27 in 2010 to at least 79 in 2011.