For more than two years, Ali Hussain Sibat of Lebanon has been held in a prison in Saudi Arabia, convicted of sorcery and sentenced to death. His head is to be chopped off by an executioner wielding a long, curved sword.
His crime: manipulating spirits, predicting the future, concocting potions and conjuring spells on a call-in television show called “The Hidden” on a Lebanese channel, Scheherazade. It was, in effect, a Middle Eastern psychic hot line.
“Sorcery is the ability to influence matters that affect people’s lives through the use of spirits,” said Abdulaziz AlGasim, a retired Saudi judge. “It is impossible to prove such an act except through confession, and confessions are suspect.”