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Execution for ‘sorcery’ violates basic human rights

In many places, fortune telling will get you snickers, a few sarcastic comments, and some cash from tourists passing through the carnival square. In Saudi Arabia, it gets you sentenced to death. We had hoped that government-sponsored witch hunts were an activity resigned to textbooks, but clearly not in Saudi Arabia.

Earlier this month, Ali Hussain Sibat, a Lebanese TV show host who predicted the futures of those willing to call the show, had his death sentence upheld in appeals court. Sibat has been held since May 2008, when he was arrested for “sorcery” by the Mutawa’een, Saudi Arabia’s religious police.

Amnesty International is calling on authorities to release him, stating, “The crime of ‘sorcery’ is not defined in Saudi Arabian law but is used to punish people for the legitimate exercise of their human rights, including the rights to freedom of thought, conscience, religion, belief, and expression.”

We at The Tartan, unsurprisingly, side with Amnesty and believe in allowing people in all nations to exercise freedom of thought, expression, and speech. Sorceresses, wizards, necromancers, warlocks, magicians, and psychics are all legitimate expressions of these freedoms. Allow them to practice their sleights of hand, to channel energies from ley lines, and to read from their crystal balls if people want to believe.