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Saudi Arabia: Witchcraft and Sorcery Cases on the Rise
Ali Sibat's death sentence apparently resulted from advice and predictions he gave on Lebanese television. According to Saudi media, in addition to Sibat, Saudi religious police have arrested at least two others for witchcraft in the past month alone.
In March 2008, Human Rights Watch asked a high-ranking official in the Ministry of Justice to clarify the definition of the crime of witchcraft in Saudi Arabia and the evidence necessary for a court to prove such a crime. The official confirmed that no legal definition exists and could not clarify what evidence has probative value in witchcraft trials. Saudi Arabia has no penal code and in almost all cases gives judges the discretion to define acts they deem criminal and to set attendant punishments.