April 30, 2017 – Saudi Arabian Man Who Dumped Islam For Atheism Sentenced To Death For Insulting Prophet Muhammad
A Saudi citizen who dumped Islam after making disparaging comments about Prophet Muhammade 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).
According to Amnesty International, the Gulf oil giant carried out at least 154 executions in 2016. The country has been habitually criticised by human rights groups over its human rights record, but it is still a member of the UN’s Human Rights Council. Its term expires in 2019.
Leaving Islam is punishable by death in the ultra-conservative kingdom.