Roger writing the LAWmag

Dateline December 2011: Saudi Arabia Beheads a "Witch"

The Prequel

Hundreds of years ago, the common law world executed witches. Not pleasantly, but alive, and by fire.

It wasn’t :

“Oh, hi. Any last words? Take this pill, it’ll dull the pain.”

King James I of England (1566-1625) was such a nut that he wrote a serious book on the evils of witchcraft in 1597 called Daemonologie.

The revered English judge Hatthew Hale (1609-1676) was one of the last to order an outdoor BBQ of live, female human flesh, when two ladies were burned at Bury St. Edmunds in 1662, for the archaic offence of:

"... invoking evil spirits or consulting, covenanting with, entertaining, employing, feeding, or rewarding any evil spirit."

Witch trials were all the rage (no pun intended) in the quaint little town of Salem in the then-barbaric English colony of Massachusetts, circa 1693. Nineteen "witches" were hung.

travel advisory spoof signApologetic American historians now refer to that episode of mass hysteria rather than justice.

But these events were the last agonies of a cruel, barbaric common law some three hundred years ago. Walk down the residential streets of some Los Angeles neighbourhoods and every block has a house with a FORTUNE TELLER ON DUTY sign.

I get lots of comments on this blog from people who disagree with my opinion and thank God (and Muhammed) for that. But hopefully most will recognize that hokey pokey has never been anything other than hokey pokey. Unless you are before a certain judge (who shall remain nameless), you can't shake a stick and expect - poof! - by golly: something from nothing.

So dare we confidently say that prosecuting witches says more of the prosecutors than of the poor old witch.

Let them have their Harry Potter fun, the common law seems to say now, with almost all jurisdictions having liquid-papered the offence of witchcraft from their books centuries ago.

The Present

Egad, folks. Here’s where it gets dicey.

Being very careful to avoid typos, we need to share with you the fact of the death of a witch in the Kingdom of Saudia Arabia.

Yes, that Saudia Arabia, blessed by Muhammed with oil wealth, money used to entrench a theocracy and very-male way of life.

Not the Taliban or Al-Qaeda but the state of Saudi Arabia, the one that is a member of the United Nations and a leader of the Arab League.

The guys in charge are:

  • A 87-year old King and Prime Minister Abdallah bin Abd al-Aziz Al Saud;
  • The Minister of Justice, Muhammad al-Isa, Ph. D., a relative baby at 45; and
  • 77-year old Minister of the Interior, Prince Naif Bin Abdul Aziz.

SA flag with witchesOn December 13, 2011 regarding a 60-year old Saudi Arabian citizen:

"Amina bin Abdel Halim Nassar was executed Monday for having committed the practice of witchcraft and sorcery, according to an Interior Ministry statement.

"Nassar was investigated before her arrest and was convicted of what she was accused of based on the law, the statement said.

"Her beheading took place in the Qariyat province of the region of Al-Jawf, the ministry said."1

Saudi Arabia is a theocracy, an Islamic state. Justice in Saudia Arabia is based Islamic law (aka Sharia law).

At the top of the Saudi legal system is the King, who acts as the final court of appeal and as a source of pardon.

This glorious King Abdallah runs a government which actually employs men to cut the head off of fellow citizens. And not some mass murdere but some old lady who hurt no-one, who waved some old sticks and bones around muttering incoherent incantations - in style anyway, if not content, not that different from the mutterings of the old, cloaked imams who run things at the local mosque.

United Press International tracked down a Saudi with enough moxie to comment, anonymously, of course

“It is wrong and disgusting to kill anyone in this way. Doing this just gets people thinking we live in the Dark Ages."

According to Amnesty International:

“The execution is the second of its kind in recent months. In September a Sudanese national was beheaded in the Saudi Arabian city of Medina after being convicted on sorcery charges. He had allegedly confessed after being tortured and was tried without a lawyer.”


What I wouldn't give for another news report which I set out for you in attorney parlance, with all due respect to the glory of King Abdullah.

I dream of CNN reporting live from Riyadh of the overthrow of King Abdullah and of his blood-stained theocracy, and the ultimate replacement by a government on the Turkey model; not perfect but at least fortune tellers would be safer from the Grim Reaper's sycthe.

And maybe the pillory for Abdullah, some quiet time, anyway,  to reflect on the sheer horrific injustice of beheading a person for professing to read tarot cards in 2011.


Posted in Crime and Criminal Law, Current Events

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  • Dateline December 2011: Saudi Arabia Beheads a "Witch"