A Saudi woman was beheaded for practicing "witchcraft and sorcery," officials said. A source close to the Saudi religious police told a newspaper in that authorities had found a book on witchcraft, 35 veils, and glass bottles containing "an unknown liquid used for sorcery" after searching her home.
She was convicted, and beheaded this week, becoming the second in Saudi Arabia to suffer execution for practicing witchcraft and sorcery this year.
The execution took place Monday when the woman -- Amina bint Abdul Salem Nasser -- was beheaded in the northern province of Jawf Saudi Arabia, according to a statement by the state news agency, issued by the interior minister. No other details were provided in the statement on the crimes the woman committed.
Quoting Abdullah al-Moshen, chief of the religious police who arrested the woman, the London-based al-Hayat daily reported that the woman had "tricked people into thinking she could treat illnesses, charging them $800 per session," according to The Associated Press. The London paper reported that the woman was arrested in 2009 and convicted some time later in a Saudi court.
The BBC reports that the verdict against Nasser was upheld by the highest courts in Saudi, according to the interior ministry. The woman, said to be in her 60s, became the second to be executed in Saudi Arabia for practicing witchcraft this year. The BBC reports that a Sudanese man was executed in September for witchcraft.
Saudi Arabia does not define sorcery as a capital offense, according to Amnesty, reports the BBC, but "some of its conservative clerics have urged the strongest possible punishments against fortune-tellers and faith healers as a threat to Islam."
"The charges of 'witchcraft and sorcery' are not defined as crimes in Saudi Arabia and to use them to subject someone to the cruel and extreme penalty of execution is truly appalling," said Philip Luther, interim direct of Amnesty International's Middle East an North Africa program, according to ABC News.
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