First Published: 2012-12-17

 

Saudi rights activist faces apostasy charge

 

Badawi referred to higher court after lower one’s judge fails to give verdict in apostasy case.

 

Middle East Online

Badawi is co-founder of the Saudi Liberal Network

RIYADH - A Saudi court on Monday referred a rights activist to a higher court for alleged apostasy, a charge that could lead to the death penalty in the ultra-conservative kingdom, activists said.

A judge at a lower court referred Raef Badawi to a higher court, declaring that he "could not give a verdict in a case of apostasy," a rights activist said.

Badawi, who was arrested a June in the Red Sea city of Jeddah for unknown reasons, is a co-founder of the Saudi Liberal Network with female rights activist Suad al-Shammari and others.

The network had announced May 7 a "day of liberalism" in the Muslim kingdom, calling for an end to the influence of religion on public life in Saudi Arabia.

A conference which was to be held in Jeddah for the occasion, was however called off after the organisers said they had been "advised" by authorities not to go ahead.

Sharia Islamic law strictly applied in Saudi Arabia stipulates death as a punishment for apostasy, but defendants are usually given the chance to repent and escape being beheaded.

Saudi blogger Hamza Kashgari was deported in February from Malaysia to the kingdom and is being held in jail to face charges of blasphemy over Twitter comments deemed insulting to the Prophet Mohammed.

Kashgari's comments triggered a wave of calls to execute him, although he said he repented.

 

US, UN call for immediate Gaza ceasefire

Fierce clashes kill at least 38 people in Benghazi

Iraq Shiite militia takes bloody revenge against ‘Islamic State’ in Baquba

Warning of Tripoli catastrophe after huge oil depot blaze

Iran flogs 5 people for eating in public during Ramadan

Air Algerie crash black boxes sent to France

Egypt army kills 14 jihadists in restive Sinai Peninsula

Calls for temporary Gaza ceasefire fall on deaf ears

Yemen army foils new Qaeda attempt to seize military posts

Investigators need ‘few days’ to probe cause of Algeria plane crash

Tunisia army suffers more losses in open war with terrorism

Jihadists advance amid escalation in Syria anti-regime offensive

Israel resumes devastating military assault on Gaza

Thousands face famine as food security situation worsens in Somalia

Death toll in Gaza climbs as fragile ceasefire reveals destruction

Egypt summons Turkey charge d'affaires for second time in one week

‘Islamic State’ jihadists dynamite Shiite shrine in Mosul

US evacuates embassy staff in Libya over ‘real risk’

Investigators begin 'difficult' probe into Air Algerie plane disaster

Armed men snatch Head of Baghdad Provincial Council

‘Islamic State’ beheads Syrian soldiers in Raqa

Kerry in Paris for talks on long-term Gaza truce

Hezbollah chief speaks out on Gaza

Two rival Islamic states in Syria power struggle

Crete protest against Syria chemicals destruction in Mediterranean

74 killed in IS assault on Syria regime territory

Iran confirms arrest of Washington Post correspondent

Somali 'Shebab commanders' killed in AU offensive

Paris: survivors of Air Algerie jet crash 'unlikely'

Jordan shots down drone near Syria border

Gaza civilian toll spiralling to above 800

UN urges Europe to tackle Mediterranean migrant crisis

From Israel with ‘virus’: Death threat letter reaches Palestinian mission in France

Ordeal of ‘apostasy’ woman ends with departure from Sudan

Another bloody day as Israel targets civilians in UN-run school

‘Islamic State’ launches multiple attacks on Syria army

Attack on Egypt army post bears fingerprints of foreign intelligence

Harassment of Christians escalates in Islamist-run Sudan

Air Algerie plane goes missing over Mali

Algeria plane with many French nationals on board vanishes over Mali

Iraqi protesters denounce treatment of minority Christians

Iraq elects Kurdish politician as federal president

Russia begins supplying military equipment to Iraq

Air Algerie plane contact lost over west Africa

South Sudan warring sides to resume peace talks