Quick Note: Amnesty Intervenes in Ali Hussain Sibat Case

Jason Pitzl-Waters —  March 19, 2010 — 24 Comments

As Lebanese citizen, and former television host, Ali Hussain Sibat gets closer to seeing his death sentence for “sorcery” in Saudi Arabia carried out, human rights group Amnesty International joins the chorus of voices calling for King Abdullah to grant him clemency and save his life.

“Amnesty International has called on the King of Saudi Arabia to halt the execution of a Lebanese national, whose death sentence for charges relating to “sorcery” was upheld by a court last week. If the higher courts reject his appeal, ‘Ali Hussain Sibat, a former television presenter for a Lebanese satellite TV station, who gave advice and predictions about the future, could be executed at any time.”

Amnesty International joins Human Rights Watch in calling for Sibat’s release as he sees his final appeals for mercy to Saudi Arabia’s judicial system fall on deaf ears.

“…on March 10, a court in Madina upheld the death sentence. The judges said that he deserved to be sentenced to death because he had practised “sorcery” publicly for several years before millions of viewers and that his actions “made him an infidel”. The court said also that there would be no way to verify that his repentance, if he should repent, would be sincere and that imposing the death sentence would deter other people from engaging in “sorcery” at a time when, the court said, there is an increase in the number of “foreign magicians” entering Saudi Arabia.”

Saudi Arabia is unique in the international epidemic of witch-hunts, as its persecutions and deaths seem unambiguously backed by a powerful government, and can’t be explained away as mere superstition or the product of corrupt “bad apple” religious leaders. While the country is currently enacting reforms of its judicial system, it has no codified legal system, and no protections against self-incrimination or forced confession. The Mutaween (religious police) in Saudi Arabia have seemingly run amok, and this recent increase in “sorcery” and “witchcraft”  arrests may be a reaction to the government trying to curb their influence. Which calls into question how much power King Abdullah actually holds over the Mutaween, and if he currently has the political clout to end this barbarity.

What is clear is that Sibat is running out of time, while the realpolitik of America’s current Middle Eastern policy silences our leaders from alienating one of our few powerful allies in that region. This case is important, not because Sibat is “one of us”, but because we shouldn’t tolerate having normal diplomatic relations with any country whose government allows for the killing of “witches” and “sorcerers”. Who brazenly seizes citizens of other countries for these alleged crimes, and whose leadership seems content to allow a theocratic goon-squad to roam freely and terrorize the populace.

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Jason Pitzl-Waters



  • Ananta Androscoggin

    Where was the Catholic Church in 186 BC ? ? ?

    You gotta be kidding !

    As for Tiberius, his reasons were political, not religious.

  • http://www.wakeupproject.com ahmad

    well i think any thing like that or any act that gives the devil’s the way to act is not legal at all …. in all the religion christianity …islam …. allll belive that the right thing is death for these people …. because they get the help from the satan and his devil’s

    • Nick Ritter

      Ahmad, where are you writing from?

  • Jake

    Already covered this.

  • Stace Powell

    Maybe you could pay attention – that reply wasn't yours.

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/Apuleius Apuleius

      Sorry. I didn't notice the level of indentation.

  • Ananta Androscoggin

    Let us hope that the "Proctors" of the Massachusetts Bay Colony are the last religious police that this country will ever have to put up with.

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  • Baruch Dreamstalker

    Is Lebanon protesting his death sentence? They ought to be concerned about their nationals.

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/thewildhunt Jason Pitzl-Waters

    If you're interested in giving a Pagan perspective of Islam, and thecurrent anti-sorcery fever, to a wider audience, ping me and we candiscuss possibilities.

  • Nick Ritter

    I wonder if the prominence of Saudi Arabia as the host-country of the Hajj has anything to do with that.

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/Crystal7431 Crystal7431

    Interesting. Thank you for your comment, Tearlach.

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/Nick_Ritter Nick_Ritter

    That's quite the compliment, thank you.

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/Nick_Ritter Nick_Ritter

    Sorry for the double-post.

  • Zira

    I for one, am anxiously anticipating the moment when Apuleius will deem Rock N' Roll the demon spawn of Christianity. 😉

  • Michael

    You are very well read. Thanks for the tip on Mircea Eliade.

  • Michael

    Ah, you're Theodish! No wonder I enjoy conversing with you so much.

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/Nick_Ritter Nick_Ritter

    Oh, do you know other Theodish folks?

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/chuck_cosimano chuck_cosimano

    If you are truly adept at magick, why do you need to depend on governments to intervene? Just something to think about.

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/Apuleius Apuleius

    But if Allah is all powerful then why does he need the Saudi monarchy to do his dirty work?

  • Stace Powell

    True! You'll be going right over to take his place and magic yourself out right? I'll let them know so the news cameras can film you proving your point.

  • http://www.wakeupproject.com ahmad

    Nick … i didn’t understand your question …. but if you mean the location …. from beirut, lebanon, middle east …. if you need any info contact me on mad_leb@windowslive.com