Friday, February 12, 2016

Saudi execution: Court overturns poet s death sentence -

A Saudi Arabian court has overturned the death penalty for Palestinian poet Ashraf Fayadh, but upheld his guilty verdict on a charge of apostasy.

The court, instead, sentenced Fayadh to eight years in prison and 800 lashes, a statement from his lawyer said.

Fayadh was initially sentenced to death by a court in the southwestern Saudi city of Abha in November on a series of blasphemy charges related to his poetry, causing an international outcry.

Fayadh will be lashed 800 times over 16 sessions, serve eight years in prison and must publicly declare his repentance in the media, said his lawyer Abdulrahman al-Lahim. 

Al-Lahim said the defense planned to appeal the court's decision, saying Fayadh is innocent and should be freed.
This is not the first time Fayadh's sentence has changed -- he'd originally been handed a lesser sentence of four years in prison and 800 lashes on the charge of having inappropriate relations with members of the opposite sex.

The court had dismissed a prosecution request for a death sentence on the apostasy charge, citing Fayadh's declared "repentance" and testimony that indicated hostility between Fayadh and the complainant, Human Rights Watch said. The watch dog group said they'd viewed the court documents

But the prosecutor appealed the ruling, according to the rights group. In mid-November, a new judge dismissed the earlier decision, saying Fayadh's repentance was not enough to avoid a death sentence for apostasy, citing verses from the defendant's poetry.

Saudi execution: Court overturns poet s death sentence -

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