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URGENT ALERT: KSA ñ Woman on death penalty for practicing witchcraft suffering from poor health in prison

22 September 2008

Fawza Falih, woman sentenced to death in Quraiyat court alleged practice of witchcraft, is currently in very bad health.

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Islamic Human Rights Commission
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22 September 2008

URGENT ALERT: KSA ñ Woman on death penalty for practicing witchcraft suffering from poor health in prison

Contents
1. Summary
2. Background
3. Action required
4. Sample letters


1. Summary

Fawza Falih, the woman sentenced to death in Quraiyat court on 2 April 2006, for the alleged practice of witchcraft, is currently in very bad health and is unable to stand up in her prison cell. She was sentenced following a trial alleged to be unfair, which prevented her from defending herself against the charges against her. IHRC urgently requests campaigners to write to the Human Rights Commission, KSA, and to urge them to ensure that Ms Falih is in good health and to ensure that she receives a fair trial.


2. Background

Fawza Falih Muhammad Ali was sentenced to death by beheading in the court of the northern town of Quraiyat, on 2 April 2006, for the alleged crimes of ìwitchcraft, recourse to jinn, and slaughterî of animals. Her papers are currently with the King, awaiting his approval for the execution. According to the latest reports by Human Rights Watch (HRW), Ms Falihís health is ëfailingí and that ëShe was too weak to stand up in her prison cell starting around June [2008].í

Currently, the Human Rights Commission of Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA), a type of government ministry, has decided to take up Ms Falihís case with the higher authorities. They were in touch with a relative of Ms Falih in July 2008 to seek details about her case.

With regards to Ms Falihís trial, HRW reports state that judges breached safeguards for a fair trial as defined in Saudi law and there were significant irregularities throughout the trial which effectively prevented Ms Falih from defending herself from the charges against her.

Please refer to HRW report* for more details: http://www.hrw.org/english/docs/2008/02/14/saudia18051.htm, http://hrw.org/english/docs/2008/02/13/saudia18046.htm
[*IHRC is not responsible for the content of external websites, nor endorses them by providing their link.]

IHRC urgently requests campaigners to write to the Human Rights Commission, KSA, and request them to ensure that Ms Falih is in good health and to ensure that she receives a fair trial.


3. Action required

Please fax/email to the President of the Human Rights Commission, KSA, Turki bin Khalid Al-Sudairi and appeal to provide Ms Falih with required medical attention.

Sheikh Turki bin Khalid Al-Sudairi
President of Human Rights Commission
Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
Fax +966 1 461 2061
Email hrc@haq-ksa.org


4. Sample letters
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Sample letters are given below for your convenience. Please note that model letters can be sent directly or adjusted as necessary to include further details. If you receive a reply to the letter you send, we request you to send a copy of the letter you sent and the reply you received to IHRC. This is extremely important as it helps IHRC to monitor the situation with regards to our campaigns and to improve upon the current model letters.

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1. Sample letter to Saudi Human Rights Commission


[Your Name]
[Your Address]


[Date]

Sheikh Turki bin Khalid Al-Sudairi
President of Human Rights Commission
Kingdom of Saudi Arabia]

Dear Sheikh Turki bin Khalid Al-Sudairi,

Re: Concern for Ms Fawza Falihís health, woman on death penalty for alleged crime of witchcraft/magic

I am very concerned about the health of Ms Fawza Falih Muhammad Ali, who was sentenced to death by beheading in Quraiyat court on 2 April 2006, for allegedly practicing witchcraft and magic.

I have read reports that she is in very bad health and since June 2008, she has become so weak that she is unable to stand in her prison cell. I am afraid if she is not provided with immediate medical attention, there is a risk to her life.

I therefore urge you to immediately provide her with the medical attention and care she requires, and ensure that she receives proper food and medication during her stay in prison. Please ensure that her basic necessities are met in prison and her stay is made comfortable.

Further, I am deeply concerned about her death sentence, as I have read reports that her trial was not fair and that there were significant irregularities throughout the trial which effectively prevented Ms Falih from defending herself from the charges against her. I request you to investigate these reports and ensure that Ms Falih receives a fair trial. If she is found not guilty she should be immediately released.

Yours sincerely,


[Your Signature]
[Your Name]

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Holy Qurían: Chapter 4, Verse 75

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