A Sudanese man was publicly beheaded last month in Saudi Arabia for being a “sorcerer”, as is shown in a shocking video.
Abdul Hamid Bin Hussain Bin Moustafa al-Fakki, who was crouched on his knees and blindfolded was executed in a car park Medina, in the west of the country, as dozens looked on.
The shocking video shows the executioner lining his sword up on the back of Abdul Hamid’s neck, before one swift stroke decapitates him.
Abdul Hamid Bin Hussain Bin Moustafa al-Fakki, who was killed on September 20, is believed to have been the 44th person executed in Saudi Arabia this year – and the 11th foreign national.
This year, a total of 17 people were executed in Saudi Arabia, which is more than for the whole of 2010.
Lebanese TV host Ali Hussain Sibat, who was sentenced to death over making predictions of the future on his show, had been scheduled to be beheaded on Friday.
Ali Hussain Sibat’s attorney May El Khansa said the execution did not take place on that day – but that did not mean he has been given a reprieve.
The alarming rise in the number of executions in Saudi Arabia has led to criticism from a number of human rights charities.
It is said that Saudis prefer beheading by a sharp sword, as they think it more humane and quicker than electrocution and lethal injection.
The crime of “sorcery” is undefined in Saudi Arabian law, but it has been used to punish people for the legitimate exercise of their human rights.
The Sudanese man, Abdul Hamid is understood to have been arrested in 2005 after he was entrapped by a man working for the Mutawa’een (religious police).
Abdul Hamid was asked to concoct a spell that would cause the officer’s father to leave his second wife.
According to the officer’s account the Sudanese agreed to carry out the curse in exchange for 6,000 Saudi Arabian riyals (approximately $1,500).
Abdul Hamid was beaten after his arrest and thought to have been forced to admit to acts of sorcery.
In a secret trial, where Abdul Hamid was not allowed legal representation, he was sentenced to death by the General Court in Medina in March 2007.
Few details are available about Abdul Hamid’s trial but he is reported to have been tried behind closed doors and without legal representation.
At the time of Abdul Hamid’s arrest, English language daily The Saudi Gazette ran an article entitled Magic Maids which said that “we must face up to the threats from some maids and servants and their satanic games of witchcraft and sorcery, their robbery, murder, entrapment of husbands, corruption of children and other countless stories of crime that have been highlighted by both experts and victims of these crimes”.
Malcolm Smart, Amnesty International’s Director for the Middle East and North Africa, heavily criticized the killing.
“Abdul Hamid’s execution is appalling as is Saudi Arabia’s continuing use of this most cruel and extreme penalty.
“That he should have been executed without having committed anything that would appear to constitute a crime is yet another deeply upsetting example of why the Saudi Arabian government should immediately cease executions and take steps to abolish the death penalty.”
Amnesty International had campaigned on Abdul Hamid’s behalf following his arrest and had urged Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah to prevent his execution.
But the campaign has been to no avail, and since the end of the holy month of Ramadan a few weeks ago, the Saudi Arabian authorities have resumed executions at an alarming pace.
Amnesty International said that seven people have been executed since the killings resumed on September 5.
Currently, 140 prisoners are believed to be facing the death penalty in Saudi Arabia, which was one of a minority of states that voted against a United Nations general assembly resolution calling for the worldwide moratorium on executions on December 2010.
Warning: video has graphic content!