The Supreme court of Saudi Arabia reduced the sentence handed down by the Supreme court in the case of the poet of Palestinian descent Ashraf Fayad. Instead of beheading he will serve an eight-year sentence. Fayyad also sentenced to 800 lashes.
In 2014, Ashraf was sentenced to four years in prison for renouncing Islam and declaring himself an atheist. The Prosecutor’s office appealed the verdict, and in 2015, the penalty had been toughened. Throughout the process, the poet claimed that innocent, the human rights organization urged the authorities to intervene.
The reason for the imprisonment become the testimony of a prosecution witness who claimed to hear Ashraf Fayad cursing God, the prophet Muhammad and Saudi Arabia. In addition, the prosecution used the verses Fayyad. The judge rejected the testimony of defense witness that challenged the prosecution’s version, calling it unreliable data.
«Fayyad is not pardoned, he will spend in prison for years. No one should incur criminal liability and be subjected to corporal punishment for the peaceful expression of their beliefs», — said the representative of Human rights organization Human Rights Watch Adam Kuhl.