Saudi Arabia maintains lead over Texas for executions

Muslim women on their way to the symbolic stoning of Satan

Saudi authorities have executed a woman convicted of practising magic and sorcery.

The Saudi interior ministry said in a statement that the execution had taken place on Monday, but gave no details of the woman’s crime.

The London-based al-Hayat daily, however, quoted Abdullah al-Mohsen, the chief of the religious police who arrested the woman, as saying she had tricked people into thinking she could treat illnesses, charging them $800 a session.

The paper said a female investigator followed up the case, and the woman was arrested in April 2009 and later convicted in a Saudi court.

It did not give the woman’s name, but said she was in her 60s.

So far 76 people have been executed this year in Saudi Arabia, according to an Associated Press count. At least three have been women.

In the GOUSA – with appropriate political connections – she might have been elected governor, say, of Florida. Although her profit margins were obviously not sufficient to impress Saudi princes much less Big Pharma.

Why Texas? Well, if the topic is political rule based on ignorance, allegiance to superstition and bigotry – stimulated by the occasional execution to excite fervor – there’s hardly a better comparison.

TV presenter gets death sentence for ‘sorcery’

Drawing by Larry Roibal

Amnesty International is calling on Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah to stop the execution of a Lebanese man sentenced to death for “sorcery.” The international rights group condemned the verdict and demanded the immediate release of Ali Hussain Sibat, former host of a popular call-in show that aired on Sheherazade, a Beirut based satellite TV channel.

According to his lawyer, Sibat, who is 48 and has five children, would predict the future on his show and give out advice to his audience.

The attorney, May El Khansa, who is in Lebanon, tells CNN her client was arrested by Saudi Arabia’s religious police (known as the Mutawa’een) and charged with sorcery while visiting the country in May 2008. Sibat was in Saudi Arabia to perform the Islamic religious pilgrimage known as Umra.

Sibat was then put on trial. In November 2009, a court in the Saudi city of Medina found Sibat guilty and sentenced him to death.

According to El Khansa, Sibat appealed the verdict. The case was taken up by the Court of Appeal in the Saudi city of Mecca on the grounds that the initial verdict was “premature.”

El Khansa tells CNN that the Mecca appeals court then sent the case back to the original court for reconsideration, stipulating that all charges made against Sibat needed to be verified and that he should be given a chance to repent.

On March 10, judges in Medina upheld their initial verdict, meaning Sibat is once again sentenced to be executed.

I try my best to understand other cultures – even sillyass nutballs mired in superstitions leftover from whichever Dark Age they favor. The fact remains that executions, flogging, deliberate acts of murder and cruelty which satisfy the spooky beliefs of religious ideologues – simply are not acceptable.

The community of nations should shove these clowns from the mainstream of worldly political life. I realize our “leaders” won’t walk away from commerce. Greed counts for more than principle and I agree that commerce extends the possibility of bringing about real change.

But, c’mon, folks. You threaten war over percentage points of purity in Iran’s yellowcake – and crap like this doesn’t even make the daily briefing.