Saudi court sentences poet to death for renouncing Islam

Wonder if Hillary believes that “human rights” are to be applied to those with different religious beliefs as well? No worries, more donations should keep her quiet on this matter.
The Guardian reported yesterday that Ashraf Fayadh (35), a Palestinian poet and leading member of Saudi Arabia’s nascent contemporary art scene, has been sentenced to death for renouncing Islam.
A Saudi court ordered the execution of Fayadh, who has curated art shows in Jeddah and at the Venice Biennale. The poet, who said he did not have legal representation, was given 30 days to appeal against the ruling.
Fayadh is a key member of the British-Saudi art organisation Edge of Arabia. He  was originally sentenced to four years in prison and 800 lashes by the general court in Abha, a city in the south-west of the ultraconservative kingdom, in May 2014. After his appeal was dismissed he was retried last month and a new panel of judges ruled that his repentance did not prevent his execution.
If you are aware of human rights (such as they are) in Saudi Arabia, this should come as no surprise. Systematic discrimination against women and religious minorities is prevalent. “I was really shocked but it was expected, though I didn’t do anything that deserves death,” Fayadh told the Guardian.

Ashraf Fayadh/Photo from his Instagram account

Ashraf Fayadh/Photo from his Instagram account

A migrant rights activist from Kuwait, Mona Kareem, has led a campaign for the poet’s release, said: “For one and a half years they promised him an appeal and kept intimidating him that there’s new evidence. He was unable to assign a lawyer because his ID was confiscated when he was arrested [in January 2014]. Then they said you must have a retrial and we’ll change the prosecutor and the judges. The new judge didn’t even talk to him, he just made the verdict.
Fayadh’s supporters believe he is being punished by hardliners for posting a video online showing the religious police (mutaween) in Abha lashing a man in public. “Some Saudis think this was revenge by the morality police,” said Kareem. He also believes that Fayadh has been targeted because he is a Palestinian refugee, even though he was born in Saudi Arabia.
Fayadh was first detained in August 2013 after receiving a complaint that he was cursing against Allah and the prophet Muhammad, insulting Saudi Arabia and distributing a book of his poems that promoted atheism. Fayadh said the complaint arose from a personal dispute with another artist during a discussion about contemporary art in a cafe in Abha.
After one day in jail, he was released on bail but the police arrested him again on January 1, 2014, confiscating his ID and detaining him at a police station until he was transferred to the local prison 27 days later. According to Fayadh’s friends, when the police failed to prove that his poetry was atheist propaganda, they began berating him for smoking and having long hair.
You are not allowed to practice or preach a different religion in Saudi Arabia other than Islam. Hence Fayadh is in the position he is in now. “They accused me [of] atheism and spreading some destructive thoughts into society,” said Fayadh. He added that the book, Instructions Within, published in 2008, was “just about me being [a] Palestinian refugee … about cultural and philosophical issues. But the religious extremists explained it as destructive ideas against God.”
During Fayadh’s trial in February 2014, complainant and two members of the religious police told the court that Fayadh had publicly blasphemed, promoted atheism to young people and conducted illicit relationships with women and stored some of their photographs on his mobile phone. He denied the accusations of blasphemy and told the court he was a faithful Muslim. According to the court documents, he said: “I am repentant to God most high and am innocent of what appeared in my book mentioned in this case.”
The case highlights the tensions between hardline religious conservatives and the small but growing number of artists and activists who are tentatively pushing the boundaries of freedom of speech in Saudi Arabia, where cinema is banned and there are no art schools.
Saudi Arabia has a complete intolerance of anyone who does not share government-mandated religious, political and social views. But that is not unexpected from those who adhere to Sharia Law.
sharia law

Please follow and like us:

Leave a Reply

Notify of
Steven Broiles

Saudi Arabia is the most utterly disgusting kingdom on Earth right now, and it was granted its independence from Britain as a protectorate, and Winston Churchill was, if my memory serves me correctly, in on the deal. (If my history is off, I am open to correction). My main point is this: Saudi Arabia is really not a nation-state in our sense of the word. My understanding is the Royal Family owns the land and allows the native peoples there to live there. (Again, I am open to correction). But Saudi Arabia has been known, for a long time, to… Read more »

Dr. Eowyn

Please pray for Ashraf Fayadh.


Even though Ashraf Fayadh is claimed to have been born in Saudi Arabia, he says that he is a Palestinian refugee. Something is wrong here! It is assumed therefore that one of his parents, or perhaps both, are Palestinian, and his mother was in Saudi Arabia when he was born, which makes him a citizen of both countries.
Nevertheless, may Ashraf Fayadh be protected from the satanic evil that is Saudi Arabia, a country that will be no more within twenty years.


Some recent articles which may shed more light on the Levant and the convergence of U.S., Saudi, and Israeli interests: “For the first time, Saudi Arabian interests and Israel are almost parallel,” …so stated Saudi Prince Alwaleed bin Talal in an interview with the Wall Street Journal in 2013. A rather revealing interview: And then there is the Bloomberg article dated June 4, 2015; “Israelis and Saudis Reveal Secret Talks to Thwart Iran.” Excerpts” “While these men represent countries that have been historic enemies, their message was identical: Iran is trying to take over the Middle East and it… Read more »


Without going to the Internet, my recall of history on this is the same as Steven’s, above. Once again we see England’s hidden hand putting its ‘divide and conquer’ policies into play.
It is bizarre to see two such extremes as the Saudi Mafia and Israel as mutual here, but politics makes very strange bedfellows at times; this is clearly one such.
I’d like to stay and play, but I must be off to our current project, transforming a muddy rear yard into a paver-brick patio with raised garden beds, on a superbly cold, clear, and sunny day in Esquimalt!


so, he says he is a “faithful muslim” and the saudi court will execute him for apostasy? definitely seems like they are sending a message to other artists about stirring up “trouble”. I pray for Ashraf Fayadh, whatever his outcome with the saudis is not important…that he is willing to die believing allah to be the most high and burn in hell forever as a result is far more important. I pray this experience he is going through opens his eyes to the false god and evils of islam that he continues to worship. I pray he realizes the only… Read more »

John Richard Walsh

Islam is the world’s most intolerant and violent political system posing as a religion. Muhammad thought he was possessed by satan and tried to commit suicide many times but chickened out each time. Muhammad was a pedophile married to his favorite of 13 wives at same time Aisha age 9. Satanic religion devised by Satan.


…and people in America think they have trouble with OUR Legal System?? Pleeeezzzzee….


It is not just Isis that is presenting problems to human rights due to the Islamic religion. Saudi Arabia represents almost identical values, we must be honest about Islam