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SAUDI ARABIA

Judicial CP - December 2005



Corpun file 17145

masthead
The Scotsman, Edinburgh, 12 December 2005

International

Royal pardon for teachers who upset Muslim scholars

By Rhiannon Edward

(extract)

TWO teachers in Saudi Arabia who were sentenced to jail and flogging after angering the kingdom's Muslim scholars have received a royal pardon.

It was reported that Mohammad al-Suhaimi, who had been sentenced to three years in jail and 300 lashes after being accused of encouraging homosexuality and adultery, was freed after all charges against him were dropped.

His release follows a decision last week to drop charges against Mohammad al-Harbi, who was sentenced to three years in jail and 750 lashes after being found guilty of mocking Islam and favouring Christians and Jews.

Mr Suhaimi said he had angered conservative colleagues by telling students that love was noble, and that it was better to love than fear God.

"I teach teenagers who need love and affection at a difficult period in their lives," Arab News quoted Mr Suhaimi as saying. "I will not turn everything in their lives into fear and terror, especially their relationship with God."

Mr Harbi, a chemistry teacher in the ultra-conservative Qassim province north of Riyadh, was accused of mocking Islam and promoting Judaism and Christianity.

Newspapers said he discussed al-Qaeda attacks against foreigners in Riyadh in May 2003 and told his students Islam did not condone the attacks.

Human rights groups protested over Mr Harbi and Mr Suhaimi's sentences, saying they were being punished for encouraging open discussion.

[...]

2005 Scotsman.com




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