Babylon & Beyond

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SAUDI ARABIA: Death, for taking God's name in vain

April 15, 2008 |  7:46 am

Turkey's president and prime minister have stepped in to save the life of a Turkish man sentenced to die in Saudi Arabia.

The prisoner's capital offense: using God's name in vain during an argument with a neighbor, according to Turkish newspapers.

Turkish President Abdullah Gul has penned a letter to Saudi King Abdullah requesting a pardon for Sabri Bogday, a barber who moved to Jeddah from southeastern Turkey more than a decade ago. Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has also reached out to Saudi officials on the barber's behalf. 

Apparently, Bogday had an argument with an Egyptian neighbor in Jeddah. The neighbor told authorities that Bogday had "cursed the name of God."

Bogday was arrested, tried and sentenced to death, even though his accuser has apparently disappeared. 

The father of a 3-month-old son has been locked up for 13 months. His family back in Turkey is worried sick that he'll be put to death for blasphemy. An appeal is underway.

We'll give the final word to the astute Fred Stopsky, at the Impudent Observer, who spotted the story:

Saudi Arabia stands with the United States in the fight against terrorism. Unfortunately, that fight against terrorism does not include the nation of Saudi Arabia.

-- Borzou Daragahi in Beirut

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