Future Says Run
Ali Hussain Sibat, Lebanese, is a man who has just been sentenced to death for the crime of “sorcery”. From CNN:
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.
Upon hearing of this story I cynically thought, “I wonder if he was surprised?”
Seriously: It seems to me the obvious defense here is, “Gee, if Sibat could actually predict the future, don’t you think he would have seen this coming? Don’t you think he would have avoided going to Saudi Arabia in 2008? Don’t you think he’d have played his hand differently?”
Good luck to the defense in appealing to the reason & sanity of “the court” in a country that actually has “religious police”. [shudders]
[There, but for the separation of church & state, go us]