Fawza Falih is going to be executed for the crime of witchcraft in Saudi Arabia. No, this isn’t a callous fiction novel about superstitious hysteria and the unearned tyranny of religious leaders. It’s true. It’s horribly true. Fawza Falih’s head is going to be chopped off with a long sword because she confessed to witchcraft. 

 

The Wages of Witchcraft and a Confession 

The court in Quraiyat, on April 2, 2006, sentenced Fawza Falih to death by beheading for the alleged crimes of “witchcraft, recourse to jinn [supernatural beings], and slaughter” of animals. Court Verdict number 125/2 (October 10, 2006) states that Ms. Fawza Falih confessed “I take 1,500 Riyal,” about $400 USD, “for each act, of which I send half to the magician Abu Tal’a [who allegedly taught her “witchcraft”] according to the agreement, for Abu Tal’a said to me, ‘If you do not bring the money, by God, you will become possessed by jinn like dogs.’” 

She was convicted on the testimony of several witnesses, none of whom she or her representatives were allowed to cross-examine. One man accused her of causing his impotence. Another man said that she accurately predicted the month that his divorced, ex-wife would return to him. 

 

Imprisonment at the Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice  After her arrest on May 4, 2005, Fawza Falih was imprisoned for 35 days at the Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice (CPVPV.) The CPVPV is forbidden by royal decree to hold prisoners at their center, though they do, nevertheless. Her jailors, including one official of the governorate, beat her during her interrogation. Her appeal states that she was beaten unconscious during one interrogation and was treated at the hospital. Fellow female prisoners bandaged her wounds. A relative who was allowed to visit her, after she had been held by the CPVPV for about 20 days and following her hospitalization, saw marks from beatings on her back. After her arrest on May 4, 2005, Fawza Falih was imprisoned for 35 days at the Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice (CPVPV.) The CPVPV is forbidden by royal decree to hold prisoners at their center, though they do, nevertheless. Her jailors, including one official of the governorate, beat her during her interrogation. Her appeal states that she was beaten unconscious during one interrogation and was treated at the hospital. Fellow female prisoners bandaged her wounds. A relative who was allowed to visit her, after she had been held by the CPVPV for about 20 days and following her hospitalization, saw marks from beatings on her back. Ms. Filah has since recanted her confession of witchcraft, saying that she was beaten until she confessed and thumbprint-signed a confession, which she could not read because she is illiterate. 

After her arrest on May 4, 2005, Fawza Falih was imprisoned for 35 days at the Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice (CPVPV.) The CPVPV is forbidden by royal decree to hold prisoners at their center, though they do, nevertheless. Her jailors, including one official of the governorate, beat her during her interrogation. Her appeal states that she was beaten unconscious during one interrogation and was treated at the hospital. Fellow female prisoners bandaged her wounds. A relative who was allowed to visit her, after she had been held by the CPVPV for about 20 days and following her hospitalization, saw marks from beatings on her back. Ms. Filah has since recanted her confession of witchcraft, saying that she was beaten until she confessed and thumbprint-signed a confession, which she could not read because she is illiterate.  

“To Preserve the Creed and Souls and Property” According to Islamic law, Fawza Filah should not be sentenced to death for witchcraft because she recanted her confession, thereby throwing some doubt on her commission of “crimes against God.” However, the judges in Quraiyat, in a new verdict of June 6, 2007, sentenced Fawza Falih to death on a “discretionary” basis, because it was in the “public interest” and to “preserve the creed and the souls and property of this country.” According to Islamic law, Fawza Filah should not be sentenced to death for witchcraft because she recanted her confession, thereby throwing some doubt on her commission of “crimes against God.” However, the judges in Quraiyat, in a new verdict of June 6, 2007, sentenced Fawza Falih to death on a “discretionary” basis, because it was in the “public interest” and to “preserve the creed and the souls and property of this country.” Human Rights Watch has sent a letter to King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia, asking for clemency or pardon. 

According to Islamic law, Fawza Filah should not be sentenced to death for witchcraft because she recanted her confession, thereby throwing some doubt on her commission of “crimes against God.” However, the judges in Quraiyat, in a new verdict of June 6, 2007, sentenced Fawza Falih to death on a “discretionary” basis, because it was in the “public interest” and to “preserve the creed and the souls and property of this country.”  has sent a letter to King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia, asking for clemency or pardon. It is astonishing that people are so superstitious that they believe in witchcraft, would condemn a woman to death for it, and are able to do so by the power of a theocratic state. Religion in general fosters this hysterical, irrational attitude, and the fanatical religious indoctrination rampant in Saudi Arabia that passes for education at all levels is the cause. 

TK Kenyon 

www.tkkenyon.com 

 

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