Nobody Ever Expects the Saudi Inquisition

After the Saudi religious police (mutaween) beat an illiterate woman into the hospital to extract a confession to witchcraft that she couldn’t read the judge handed down a sentence of death. Sound like Medieval or early Renaissance times? Wrong. It’s Saudi Arabia here and now. Story at ABC 

A leading human rights group appealed to Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah on Thursday to stop the execution of a woman accused of witchcraft and performing supernatural acts.

The New York-based Human Rights Watch said in a statement that the kingdom’s religious police who arrested and interrogated Fawza Falih, and the judges who tried her in the northern town of Quraiyat never gave her the opportunity to prove her innocence in the face of “absurd charges that have no basis in law.”

Falih’s case underscores shortcomings in Saudi Arabia’s Islamic legal system in which rules of evidence are shaky, lawyers are not always present and sentences often depend on the whim of judges.