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Saudi woman beheaded for 'sorcery'

A Saudi woman was beheaded Monday after being convicted of practising sorcery, which is banned in the ultra-conservative kingdom, the interior ministry said.

Amina bint Abdulhalim Nassar was executed in the northern province of Jawf for "practising witchcraft and sorcery," the ministry said in a statement carried by SPA state news agency.

It is not clear how many women have been executed in the desert-kingdom, but another woman was beheaded in October for killing her husband by setting his house on fire.

Amnesty International said beheading took to 73 the number of executions in Saudi Arabia this year.

The London-based human rights watchdog condemned Monday's execution as "truly appalling," and called on the conservative kingdom to urgently halt the practice.

"The charges of 'witchcraft and sorcery' are not defined as crimes in Saudi Arabia", said Philip Luther, Amnesty's interim director of the Middle East and North Africa.

"To use them to subject someone to the cruel and extreme penalty of execution is truly appalling," he added in a statement, which stressed the "urgent need" to stop executions.

Rape, murder, apostasy, armed robbery and drug trafficking are all punishable by death under Saudi Arabia's strict interpretation of Islamic sharia law.

Luther described as "deeply disturbing" the huge rise in the number of executions in Saudi Arabia.

Many of those executed have had no defence lawyer and are not informed about the legal proceedings against them, according to Amnesty.

"While we don't know the details of the acts which the authorities accused Amina of committing, the charge of sorcery has often been used in Saudi Arabia to punish people, generally after unfair trials, for exercising their right to freedom of speech or religion," Luther said.

Earlier this month, Amnesty accused the oil-rich kingdom of conducting a campaign of repression against protesters and reformists since the Arab Spring erupted 12 months ago.

The rights group said Saudi Arabia was one of a minority of states which voted against a UN General Assembly resolution last December calling for a worldwide moratorium on executions.

Amnesty says Saudi Arabia executed 27 convicts in 2010, compared to 67 executions announced the year before. (AFP)


<한글 기사>

주술 통해 병 치료한 사우디 여성 처형

'마법과 주술'을 한 혐의로 사형 선고를 받은 사우디아라비아 여성이 12일(현지시간) 처형됐다.

사우디 내무부는 이날 북동부 알-자우프 주에서 주술을 사용해 유사 의료 행위를 한 아미나 할림 빈 살림을 참수형에 처했다고 밝혔다.

아미나는 병을 고쳐주겠다며 환자들에게 매회 3천 리얄(약 90만원)을 치료비로 요구했다고 종교경찰 고위 인사는 설명했다.

당국은 치료에 대한 불만 신고가 이어지자 조사에 착수했고 아미나는 2009년 4월 체포돼 재판에서 사형을 선고받았다.

인권단체 국제앰네스티는 이번 사형 집행을 규탄하며 사우디 정부에 처형을 즉각 중단할 것을 촉구했다.

앰네스티는 "'마법과 주술'은 사우디에서 범죄로 규정돼 있지 않다"며 이 혐의가 흔히 표현이나 종교의 자유를 주장하는 활동을 처벌하는 구실이 되고 있다고 비판했다.

아미나를 포함해 올해 사우디에서 사형을 당한 사람의 수는 현재까지 76명에 이른다.

이슬람 율법의 엄격한 해석이 사법제도의 바탕을 이루는 사우디에서는 무장강도, 마약밀매, 성폭행, 살인, 종교를 배반하는 행동 등에 사형을 선고할 수 있다.


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