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.

 

UN Syria peace talks begin in Geneva

Israel to deny Human Rights Watch visas for being ‘biased’

Iraqi forces enter IS-held west Mosul

Suicide bomb attack on rebels kills 51 near Al-Bab

Marrakesh clinches top ranking of African urban life

UN considers Syria sanctions over chemical attacks

Saudi Comic-Con slammed as ‘sin’ in online backlash

Jordanians protest government price hikes

Baghdad coordinated anti-IS airstrikes with Damascus says source

New Hamas Gaza leader makes first public appearance

Palestinian protestors clash with Israeli soldiers in West Bank

Jordanian F-16 crashes in Saudi, pilot survives

Iraqi PM says air force strikes IS targets in Syria

UN slams light sentence for Israeli soldier

Saudi king seeks investment on rare Asia tour

Saudi minister discusses hajj with Iran

136 Turkish diplomats, soldiers seek German asylum since coup

New Hamas ‘strongman’ could spell fresh Israeli conflict

Suicide car bomb kills eight outside Yemen army base

Fired Turkish academics protest ‘unjust’ dismissals

Iraqi forces jovial after Mosul airport entry

Syrian rebels announce capture of flashpoint town from IS

Iraqi forces enter IS-held Mosul airport

Swedish citizen jailed for IS Facebook post

Somalia names new prime minister

Netanyahu backs pardon for Israel soldier who shot Palestinian

UN envoy meets Syrian rivals, hopes of breakthrough slim

Yemeni government forces pin back rebels on coast

Israeli Supreme Court appoints deeply right-wing judges

Hundreds of Australians protest Netanyahu

Yemen rebel fire kills policeman on Saudi border

UN condemns Israel's new West Bank demolition plans

UN envoy says Russia asked Syria to halt bombing during talks

Bahrain arrests 20, approves military trials for civilians

Israel blocks EU lawmakers from Gaza entry

Syrian migrant on trial in Austria over 20 murders

UN says rapes, killings still blight Darfur

Yemen president says Saudi saving $10 bn for reconstruction

Top Yemen commander killed in missile strike

New Somali president says ability to deal with nation's problems 'limited'

Israel lifts ban on basketball team playing in Turkey

Arab League condemns Israeli soldier’s lenient sentence

Turkey lifts ban on Islamic headscarves in army

Israeli ministry orders removal of Haifa ammonia tank

Iraqi forces ready for assault on Mosul airport