On February 22, 2015, a Saudi court handed down a sentence of death by beheading for a Saudi man in his 20s, for renouncing Islam. The man, whose name has not been published, had been arrested a year previously on charges of insulting Allah and the Prophet Muhammad, desecrating the Koran, and posting a video of him doing all these on the Keek social network..
According to the Saudi government daily Al-Sharq, the judges had stated that anyone insulting the principles of the religion would be killed, explaining their verdict with quotes from the Koran and the Hadith.
The condemned man has appealed the verdict and his appeal is expected to be considered by a higher court. His lawyer said he is addicted to drugs and requires rehabilitation.
It should be noted that a severe punishment for offences of this sort is not unusual in the Arab and Islamic countries, where those convicted of insulting the Prophet Muhammad are often sentenced to prison and even to death.[i]
The following are the details of the case:
Arrested For Atheism And For Insulting The Prophet Muhammad
In April 2014, it was reported that the man had been arrested in Hafar Al-Batin in northeastern Saudi Arabia for “atheism and involvement in insulting the divine and several Companions of the Prophet [Muhammad].” The Saudi government daily Al-Sharq reported that the local Saudi religious police had summoned him for questioning. According to the paper, the main evidence against him consisted of video clips that he had uploaded to Keek, including some in which he filmed himself insulting Allah and the Prophet Muhammad and tearing up a Koran and hitting it with his shoe. The paper also stated, “The suspect will face a serious problem if he cannot prove his innocence or present medical proof of insanity.”
The paper also reported that the residents of the cities of Hafar Al-Batin and Al-Qaisoumah, the region where the young man lived, had condemned his “loathsome” deeds and said that his actions “represented [only] himself.”