Saudia Arabia imposes death sentence on Palestinian poet

Saudia Arabia imposes death sentence on Palestinian poet

A court in Saudi Arabia this week sentenced Palestinian poet Ashraf Fayadh, above, to death for renouncing his religious faith.

Middle East Eye reports that Fayadh, 50, was handed the sentence on Tuesday for “doubting the existence of God”.

Ashraf Fayadh was first arrested by religious police in 2013 after a reader complained that one of his books, his 2008 poetry collection Inner Teachings, could encourage people to renounce Islam.

Fayadh, who was born to Palestinian parents but grew up in the Gulf kingdom, was released due to lack of evidence, but was rearrested in January 2014 in the southwestern city of Abha.

He was arrested in a coffee shop after watching a game of football, and was threatened with being deported to Gaza, his father told France24 at the time.

Fayadh was initially sentenced to four years in prison and 800 lashes, but an appeal judge this week increased the sentence, handing down the death penalty.

The exact charges under which Fayadh was initially held were not made clear, although some have suggested that his arrest was linked to his publication of a video showing religious police in Abha beating a young man in public.

The arrest of Fayadh, also an expressionist artist who has shown his work in government-sponsored exhibitions, sparked anger last year, with hundreds of artists and writers signing a petition calling for his release.

Following news of the death sentence against Fayadh, the Arabic Network for Human Rights Information put out an urgent call for charges against him to be dropped.

Saudi Arabia, which gained a seat on the UN Human Rights Council with the support of the British government, has put to death nearly 150 people so far this year, the highest figure in two decades. Most people are executed by beheading with a sword, a method Saudi authorities say is more humane than other alternatives.

23 responses to “Saudia Arabia imposes death sentence on Palestinian poet”

  1. Newspaniard says:

    I agree with the death penalty for undisputed murder. If this guy is so executed then that must be “undisputed murder”. It is not enough that the Saudis finance murder all over the world but they have to invent crimes so that they can practice their savagery at home.

  2. John Dent -Smith says:

    One can expect little else from a society riddled with paranoia & a medieval mind set.Modern civilized society does not conduct itself in such a barbaric way,hence it cannot be a civilized society.
    One day the turn ofvSaudiabArabia will come for its government to tumble & it will have no one to blame than itself
    Once the rest of the world starts to use alternative energy properly & Saudi oil is no longer required,you watch its friends in the west melt away.With today’s advances in weaponry the strategic positioning of the Kingdom will also nullify its military important physical position

  3. AgentCormac says:

    If an idea needs defending with intimidation and violence, then it is not an idea at all.

    BTW, did any of you see this response from presenter Andrew Neil to the Saudi-sponsored Paris attocities ? Powerful stuff.

  4. Zombiehunter says:

    Why anyone would choose to live in Saudi Arabia is beyond me, with allies like them who needs enemies.

    Also a Saudi prince was caught having his dick sucked while drinking whisky on a trip to LA, the same Saudi royals who point the finger at the west and call us decedent and then come over here to do the things that they jail lash and even execute people for in their own country.

    But hey they’re out ally so it’s ok, right?? (sarcasm)

  5. John Humpf says:

    The Saudi elite know the only way to hold onto power is to intimidate its subjects with the real threat of brutal execution for expressing ones opinion. Islam is the tool whereby the elite justify their actions. Show any signs of rebellious behaviour and you will be accused of blasphemy (how I hate that word) and condemned to death at the end of a sword.

  6. John Humpf says:

    Most people are executed by beheading with a sword, a method Saudi authorities say is more humane than other alternatives.

    OK so went the Saudi revolution happens, as it will soon because it is now in a teettering on the brink of instability, lets hope the mobs are humane and remove heads by the sword in the traditional kindly manner.

  7. Newspaniard says:

    @AgentCormac. Excellent link. I’m totally surprised that the BBC allowed such a “provocative” broadcast. Wait for the apologies from the craven BBC and the complaints with victimhood cards being waved by scum like the MCB.

  8. Rob Andrews says:

    What makes me really sick is the phony show of justice. I mean accused people are allowed lawyers. there’s appeals courts , bail can be set, etc-so it looks like the west….No jury trials though!
    But it’s all theater.At least North Korea is more honest about what they do with political heritics.
    I work for Amnesty International so I know Raif Badawi’s lawyer was recently arrested for “subverting the ruler” or something. I urge all menbers of this website to write to the Saudi Embassy in there coiuntries. Regular letters are better than emails, as they sit on someones desk and are harder to throw out.

    Here’s the US address:
    Ambassador Abdul A. Al-Jubeir
    Royal Embassy of Saudi Arabia
    601 New Hampshire Ave. NW
    Washington DC 20037

  9. Broga says:

    I have reached the point where reading about these grotesque injustices from some of the biggest hypocrites on the planet makes me queasy. While dishing out their murderous sentences these hypocrites come to the West and booze, shag prostitutes, live in luxury and gamble.

  10. Dionigi says:

    try again

  11. barriejohn says:

    Oh, no; not again.

    “Apostasy” is a NON-CRIME!

    “Blasphemy” is a NON-CRIME!

    It is not a crime to think for yourself, nor to deny the truth of, or discontinue to believe in, fairy tales and fictional beliefs. Let’s burn all the children who deny the existence of Father Christmas!

    (PS It’s not even criminal to deny the truth, as long as you’re not committing perjury. If people still want to believe that the earth is flat, or that the earth is at the centre of the universe, then that is their right – just keep them well away from the younger generation!)

  12. barriejohn says:

    PPS Nice to see more evidence that these religious bigots do visit a site where they might possibly receive some enlightenment. At least their views are not going unchallenged. It makes me laugh when commenters say:” I can’t even be bothered to read all your bullshit”, and promptly respond to the points that you’ve made!

  13. Laura Roberts says:

    @Ahsan_al_Hadees: That first reference is incredibly painful to get through, but after pages of sanctimonious, pseudo-intellectual rambling, the author bends over backwards to argue that the following line somehow does not advocate death to apostates:

    “But whoever turns away and disbelieves, Allah will punish him with the greatest punishment”

    While you can argue whether this means apostates could be killed, the hard fact is that this horrible language is in the Q’uran, and can be used to justify any manner of barbarism.

  14. barriejohn says:

    “Oh, no; not again” Part the Second:

    BBC News is conducting its review of the newspapers at this very moment, and the reviewer is “an imam and scholar” (whatever that means). The first article concerned a fifteen-year-old British girl who went to Syria to join ISIS, and he actually said that “we find this very disturbing” because her head has been filled with a lot of nonsense that has no basis in reality. Yes – a man who advocates the brainwashing of children with unsubstantiated fiction is horrified that people are brainwashing children with unsubstantiated fiction; you couldn’t make it up!

  15. barriejohn says:

    BTW I agree with Rob Andrews (above); online petitions and emails are pretty pointless, as they are too easily deleted and ignored. However, receiving sackloads of mail REALLY gets under the skin of these people!

    Saudi Embassy details here (along with a lot of other bullshit):

  16. Stephen Mynett says:

    OT but a nice bit of news:

    No doubt Digital Cinema Media are going to be lambasted by fundies and other religionist twerps but it is nice to see them catering for their audiences rather than allowing their cinemas to be used for propoganda, I liked this quote from their group: “It [A DCM statement] said that “some advertisements – unintentionally or otherwise – could cause offence to those of differing political persuasions, as well as to those of differing faiths and indeed of no faith,” and that “in this regard, DCM treats all political or religious beliefs equally”.

    Now the last word, equally, don’t they know religion deserves special privilege, I am sure Andrea Whinging-Bampot will put them right.

  17. Edwin Salter says:

    What this country could do for Fayadh (and itself) is offer to take him with citizenship here. We should offer asylum to the bravely deserving and the usefully talented. Good all round. (Suggest it to your MP.)

  18. Cali Ron says:

    I was so relieved to hear that the Saudi’s use a sword for beheadings because it’s more humane. I mean, the last thing you want when beheading someone is to be inhumane, right? Those Saudi’s sure know how to respect human rights, it’s no wonder the British government stepped up to help them get that UN council seat. What next, Kim Jong-Un for the next UN Human Rights Council seat?

  19. Cali Ron says:

    barriejohn: Check me if I’m wrong, but I’m pretty sure it’s impossible to be an Imam and a scholar, as they are mutually exclusive. One requiring faith and the other requiring critical thought.

  20. Philip Smeeton says:

    There is no way that Islam can be defended. Supporting Muslims is to support those that despise you and want to destroy everything that you cherish. Islam is hateful and mean and violent. All of the terrorists are Muslims because Islam encourages terrorism just look at the holy texts. 5:53 The punishment of those who wage war against Allah and His Apostle, and strive with might and main for mischief through the land is: execution, or crucifixion, or the cutting off of hands and feet from opposite sides, or exile from the land: that is their disgrace in this world, and a heavy punishment is theirs in the Hereafter; Quran (8:12) – “I will cast terror into the hearts of those who disbelieve. Therefore strike off their heads and strike off every fingertip of them” No reasonable person would interpret this to mean a spiritual struggle. you want to see what your town is going to look like when many Muslims come there go and take a look at Molenbeek in Belgium.?

  21. […] the death sentence recently imposed by a Saudi court on Palestinian artist Ashraf Fayadh, above, the Saudi Justice Ministry said it plans to file a case against someone who wrote on […]