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Man convicted of witchcraft faces beheading

Associated Press / April 2, 2010

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BEIRUT — The lawyer for a Lebanese TV psychic who was convicted of witchcraft charges in Saudi Arabia said yesterday that her client could be beheaded this week and urged Lebanese and Saudi leaders to help spare his life.

Attorney May al-Khansa said she learned from a judicial source that Ali Sibat is to be beheaded today. She added that she does not have any official confirmation of this.

A Lebanese official said Beirut has received no word from its embassy in Riyadh about Sibat’s possible execution. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the media.

Sibat is one of scores of people reported arrested every year in the kingdom for practicing sorcery, witchcraft, black magic, and fortune telling. These practices are considered polytheism by the government in Saudi Arabia, a deeply religious Muslim country.