ROYAL CLEMENCY

A Turkish barber who was sentenced to death by a Jeddah court on blasphemy charges will soon be released following a royal clemency. It was decided to release of Sabri Bogday,

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A Turkish barber who was sentenced to death by a Jeddah court on blasphemy charges will soon be released following a royal clemency. It was decided to release of Sabri Bogday, who was languishing in a Saudi prison for the last three years. Bogday, a hairdresser in Jeddah, was sentenced to death for swearing at God during an argument with his neighbour, an Egyptian tailor. Police arrested Bogday after the tailor lodged a complaint. The case received much publicity in the Turkish and Western media. Turkish President Abdullah Gul personally intervened in the case and requested Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah to grant a royal pardon. Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan also discussed the case with King Abdullah. Abdul Rahman Al-Lahem, a Riyadh-based lawyer, said rulings in such cases largely depend on judges’ interpretations of the Shariah. “Some judges consider it heresy and infidelity, and say that the accused cannot repent and so faces death penalty,” said Al-Lahem. “Others consider the statement to be disbelief, thus allow the accused to retract what he has said and repent, and then set him free.”