April 1st, 2010
12:11 PM ET

Wife of condemned 'sorcerer' pleads for mercy

The wife of a Lebanese man facing a death sentence in Saudi Arabia for "sorcery" pleaded for mercy Thursday as Lebanon's justice minister asked the kingdom's rulers to halt his beheading.

Family members have been told that Ali Hussain Sibat, who used to offer predictions and advice to callers on a Lebanese television network, is scheduled to be put to death Friday. But Lebanon's government says it has no confirmation that his execution has been set, and his wife made an emotional plea for his release during a CNN interview Thursday.

"All I ask is for the Saudi king and the Saudi government to show him mercy - let him come back to his country and his family," Samira Rahmoon said.

Saudi authorities have not disclosed details of the charge for which Sibat has been condemned and have not responded to requests for comment on the case. Lebanese Justice Minister Ibrahim Najjar said he has asked the Saudis to halt any scheduled execution, though he had no confirmation it had been set to take place.

- CNN's Mohammed Jamjoom contributed to this report.

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  1. Abdal-Latif

    The Saudis should at least remember that this man came to their country on a religious pilgrimage–not exactly your average idol-worshiping fortune-teller. If he did actually engage in sorcery, he did it in Lebanon, which has different legal standards. For them to capture him and try him for something he did in another country when he's on a spiritual pilgrimage is pretty incredible. Muslims from all over the world come to S.A. on pilgrimages (Haj or Umro), trusting that the Saudis will treat them with fairness and not punish them except for breaking S.A.'s laws while they are there. This incident may have a long-term chilling effect on pilgrims to S.A. They should really have a "hands-off" policy toward foreign pilgrims unless as absolutely necessary.

    Will this man's life be spared? I doubt it, unfortunately. He was probably specifically targeted by someone in the Saudi hierarchy who saw his TV show and was deeply offended–they knew about his plans to come to the country as a pilgrim, and pounced on him. And then of course organizations such as Amnesty International will seal his fate by commenting about how "barbaric" is Islamic law, at least as implemented by the Saudis.

    April 1, 2010 at 2:55 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Bob

    From what I could find the last execution for sorcerery in the 'civilized' world was in 1716 in England. I guess most magicians can not go to Saudi Arabia or face the same pentily for entertaining people. What impression do they think they are leaving ont he rest of the world of how 'advanced' they are as a civilization. Sorcerey????

    April 1, 2010 at 2:56 pm | Report abuse |
  3. carolyn

    The Saudi's may be the current punishers of sorcerey; but Bob, have you forgotten the Salem Witch Trials in the good old New England in the 1700's in the good ole US of A. And don't forget ole Henry the VIII; he had Ann Bolelyn beheaded for incest with her brother and using witch craft to lure him into marrying her. Seems savagery spans the globe at different points in history. I threw that in because I'm a big fan of the Tudor's on Showtime.

    April 1, 2010 at 3:25 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Bradspace

    Carolyn – I guess I need to point out the obvious that you are referencing things that happened EONS ago, not in "modern" society. It's amazing that the Saudi's, along with MANY other middle eastern countries allow men to kill their wives; sisters; cousins for suspected adultery and get away with it, but offering predictions results in beheading. The entire legal and value systems in those countries are so out of whack it's beyond comprehension.

    April 1, 2010 at 4:20 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Steve Myers

    Sorry to say but Islamic teachings in some ways can be barbaric. They look at the white man as "Infidels" but yet for "Sourcery" they want to take a mans head off?

    How does cutting a mans head off not barbaric? or humane? come on... Islam is a joke, most religeons are for that matter to have to resort to any type of violence in order to supress a persons individualism.

    Anyone or anything that thinks barbarism is the right way is nothing more than a moron. IT'S ABOUT TIME EVOLVE BEYOND THE AGE OF THE APE MAN!!

    April 1, 2010 at 4:28 pm | Report abuse |