05 Nov 2007

Man Executed for Witchcraft in Saudi Arabia

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Saudi Arabia executed on Friday an Egyptian man convicted of “sorcery”, desecrating the Muslim holy book and adultery, the official news agency said.

The Saudi Press Agency said Mustafa Ibrahim was put to death in Riyadh in a controversial case which has drawn criticism from rights activists.

It said Ibrahim had been accused by another foreign resident of practicing magic in order to separate him from his wife and said evidence had been found in his home, including books on black magic, a candle with an incantation “to summon devils” and “foul-smelling herbs”.

“He confessed to adultery with a woman and desecrating the Koran by placing it in the bathroom,” the agency said.

Saudi media first reported the case in April, saying mosque worshippers had complained that a pharmacist in the northern desert town of Arar had placed copies of the Koran in washrooms. No accusation of adultery was mentioned at the time.

Clerics of Saudi Arabia’s austere form of Islam, known as Wahhabism, take accusations of sorcery seriously and recently held a conference in Riyadh on how to combat it.

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