April 5th, 2010
12:10 PM ET

Reprieve for Lebanese man who was set to die for 'sorcery'

A Lebanese man who had been condemned by a court in Saudi Arabia to die last week for "sorcery" has not been executed, his lawyer said Monday.

May El Khansa told CNN that she got confirmation from Ibrahim Najjar, Lebanon's justice minister, that her client, Ali Hussain Sibat, was still alive.

She added that she had heard Saturday, from sources in Saudi Arabia with knowledge of the case, that the beheading had not been carried out Friday, as originally planned.

Also Saturday, she said, she sent an official letter to Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah asking him to pardon her client.

She said she would send more letters of appeal Tuesday to Lebanese government officials asking them to intervene.

Saudi government officials would not comment to CNN about the case.

Justice Minister Najjar said last week that he had urged the Saudi government not to carry out the execution, and Sibat's wife made an emotional plea for mercy from the kingdom's rulers 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.

Sibat used to offer predictions and advice to callers on a Lebanese television network. He was arrested by Saudi Arabia's religious police and charged with sorcery while visiting the country in May 2008 while on an Islamic pilgrimage, El Khansa said. Saudi authorities have not disclosed details of the charge for which Sibat has been condemned.

"We can't understand how they could arrest him and charge him and sentence him to death," Rahmoon said. "It doesn't make any sense."

El Khansa said Wednesday that she had been told about the upcoming execution by a Saudi source with knowledge of the case and the proceedings.

Lebanon's government said it had no confirmation that his execution had been set, but Najjar called the sentence "disproportionate."

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soundoff (3 Responses)
  1. Ednonymous

    "We can't understand how they could arrest him and charge him and sentence him to death," Rahmoon said. "It doesn't make any sense."

    islam doesn't make any sense.

    April 11, 2010 at 10:46 am | Report abuse |
  2. Poshpot

    I don't know why this news is not on the front cover of every newspaper worldwide so this poor man can live. Why hasn't Lebanese TV broadcast wordwide – after all that's why he's labelled a "sorcerer" after doing a popular TV show. Save this man. Show the Saudi's they can't just murder someone please.

    May 19, 2010 at 6:24 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Phil

    This is religion for you. This is why we don't need more of that here.

    August 24, 2010 at 2:51 am | Report abuse |