Yemeni jailed for 21 years in Saudi for insulting Islam and monarchy


A Saudi court has sentenced a Yemeni resident of the kingdom to 21 years imprisonment for questioning and insulting tenets of the Islamic faith and insulting the kingdom's rulers, according to a judgement made public on Sunday.

The unnamed Yemeni citizen had escaped the death penalty that traditional Islamic law imposes for apostasy by recanting his views in court, the judgement said.

The court found that he had insulted Islam, Muslims and the companions of the prophet Muhammad, called Saudi Arabia's rulers oppressors and described a revered collection of accounts of the prophet's life and sayings as superstitions.

He had also described the founder of the Kingdom's puritanical school of Sunni Islam, Mohammed Abdul-Wahhab, as a "takfiri" or an extremist who declares other Muslims to be infidels, the ruling said.

Saudi Arabia implements a strict interpretation of Islamic law and imposes the death penalty for offences that include murder, armed robbery, drug trafficking, rape and sorcery as well as apostasy.

Shia forces at odds with Saudi Arabia, including the Houthi rebels who control much of Yemen, often portray the kingdom's school of Sunni Islam as extremist, a charge it strongly rejects.  (dpa)

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