Nope, this isn’t 1692. A Saudi woman was executed last week after being convicted of practicing witchcraft and magic. While I agree this is absolutely crazy, I also think it’s so interesting to see the different views people/cultures have. The “crimes” she was convicted for are things that people here in the U.S. do openly everyday as a type of business.
The woman, Amina bint Abdulhalim Nassar, was executed in the northern Saudi province of al-Jawf on Monday.
A source close to the Saudi religious police told Arab newspaper al Hayat that authorities who searched Nassar’s home found a book about witchcraft, 35 veils and glass bottles full of “an unknown liquid used for sorcery” among her possessions. According to reports, authorities said Nassar claimed to be a healer and would sell a veil and three bottles for 1500 riyals, or about $400.
According to the ministry, Nassar’s death sentence was upheld by an appeals court and the Saudi Supreme Judicial Council.
Philip Luther, the interim direct of Amnesty International’s Middle East and North Africa program, condemned Nassar’s killing, calling it “deeply shocking.”
“The charges of ‘witchcraft and sorcery’ are not defined as crimes in Saudi Arabia and to use them to subject someone to the cruel and extreme penalty of execution is truly appalling,” Luther said.
Luther said that a charge of sorcery is often used by the Saudi government as a smokescreen under which they punish people for exercising freedom of speech.
Nassar was not the first person to be executed for alleged witchcraft by the Saudi government this year. In September, a Sudanese man was publicly decapitated with a sword in the city of Medina after he was found guilty of the same crime.