Saudi Arabian Court Re-Sentences Television Host to Death for Sorcery

It appears that Lebanese talk show host Ali Hussain Sibat is again facing death for sorcery in Saudi Arabia. A court in Medina reaffirmed his conviction despite being reversed earlier by the court of appeals. He was convicted of claiming to be able to predict the future on his show, which is treated as a form of witchcraft in the Kingdom.

The popular show aired on Sheherazade, a Beirut based satellite TV channel. Sibat, 48, is the father of five who would give advice to the audience with a mix of common sense and claims to be able to see into the future. He did not appear to see this coming.

He was arrested in May 2008 while visiting Saudi Arabia to perform the Islamic religious pilgrimage known as Umra.

The Court of Appeal in Mecca ruled that his sentencing was “premature.” However, the original court promptly reinstated the sentence.

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7 thoughts on “Saudi Arabian Court Re-Sentences Television Host to Death for Sorcery”

  1. You want to talk about bravery in the face of theocratical fanaticism? Check out this story:

    This woman is competing in a TV show on Saudi Arabian television similar to “American Idol” (but instead of singing it’s poetry). From the story:

    “Then last week, Hissa Hilal, only her eyes visible through her black veil, delivered a blistering poem against Muslim preachers “who sit in the position of power” but are “frightening” people with their fatwas, or religious edicts, and “preying like a wolf” on those seeking peace.

    Her poem got loud cheers from the audience and won her a place in the competition’s finals, to be aired on Wednesday.

    It also brought her death threats, posted on several Islamic militant Web sites.

    Hilal shrugs off the controversy.

    “My poetry has always been provocative,” she told The Associated Press in an interview. “It’s a way to express myself and give voice to Arab women, silenced by those who have hijacked our culture and our religion.”

    Her poem was seen as a response to Sheik Abdul-Rahman al-Barrak, a prominent cleric in Saudi Arabia who recently issued a fatwa saying those who call for the mingling of men and women should be considered infidels, punishable by death.

    But more broadly, it was seen as addressing any of many hard-line clerics in Saudi Arabia and elsewhere in the region who hold a wide influence through television programs, university positions or Web sites.
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    “Killing a human being is so easy for them, it is always an option,” she told the AP.”

    Bravo, Hissa Hilal! Bravo indeed for having the fortitude to speak truth to power. You’re my kinda gal and I hope you win both the competition and your freedom.

  2. As long as our “allies” supply us oil, I guess they get to have all the witch hunts they want, and our government will never denounce their actions.

  3. despite all the blood, the tree of liberty doesn’t seem to be doing to good there.

  4. Good to see a democratic Iraq spread its seeds of freedom in the Middle East. Maybe we should drop some more seeds.

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