Saudi Arabia will execute ‘atheist for insulting the prophet’

By Romil Patel

A Saudi Arabian man who renounced Islam and made disparaging remarks about the prophet Muhammad has been sentenced to death.

Authorities became aware of Ahmad Al-Shamri in 2014 after he uploaded a series of videos reflecting his views on social media. He was subsequently arrested on charges of atheism and blasphemy, faced trial and was sentenced to death in February 2015.

Al-Shamri is reportedly in his early 20s and comes from the city of Hafar Al-Batin, located in Saudi Arabia’s Eastern Province.

The defendant initially pleaded insanity, saying that he was under the influence of drugs and alcohol when he made the comments, Hala Dosari, an advisory board member of Human Rights Watch (HRW) told the Washington Post.

She added that “his trial focused heavily on Quranic law and little on any mitigating mental illness. As a result, Al-Shamri has been sentenced to death for being an atheist.”

After a lengthy appeals process, Saudi Arabia’s Supreme Court ruled against Al-Shamri on Tuesday (25 April).

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