Ali Hussain Sibat, who is 46 and has five children, was a presenter on a TV show on the Lebanese satellite TV station Sheherazade, where he gave advice and predictions about the future. He was arrested by the Mutawa’een (religious police) on charges of “sorcery” in May 2008 while he was in Saudi Arabia to perform a form of Muslim pilgrimage, the umra.
Ali Hussain Sibatwas sentenced to death by a court in Madina on 9 November 2009 after secret court hearings where he had no legal representation or assistance. Amnesty International is concerned that the charge of “sorcery” and others arose solely from the peaceful exercise of his right to freedom of expression.
In January, the Court of Appeal in Makkah accepted an appeal against his death sentence, on grounds that it was a premature verdict. The Court of Appeal said that all allegations made against ‘Ali Hussain Sibat had to be verified, and that if he had really committed the crime he should be asked to repent. But on March 10, a court in Madina upheld the death sentence. The judges in a statement 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.
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There is now an online petition you can sign to urge the Saudi Ministry of Justice not to go ahead with the planned execution of this Lebanese entertainer. Please go here and sign it now.