Thursday, February 04, 2016

Saudi Court Reduces Sentence From Death To 8 Years and 800 Lashes In Apostasy Case

CNN reported yesterday that a court in Saudi Arabia has upheld the guilty verdict on a charge of apostasy that was handed down against Palestinian poet Ashraf Fayadh. However the court overturned the death sentence against him and instead sentenced him to eight years in prison and 800 lashes to be administered over 16 sessions.  As previously reported, originally Fayadh was sentenced to 800 lashes and four years in prison on charges that his 2008 Arabic poetry book “Instructions Within” was insulting to God and religion. Also on the basis of photos in his phone, he was charged with illicit relations with women. However apostasy charges against him were dismissed because the judge found he had repented.  Prosecutors appealed, seeking a harsher sentence, and the appeals court remanded for a new trial.  At that trial in November, a different judge concluded that Fayadh's repentance was not sufficient, and he was sentenced to death.