RIYADH – A man in Saudi Arabia has been sentenced to death for uploading a video in which he renounced Islam and Prophet Muhammad (PBUH).
Several local media reports identified the man as Ahmad Al Shamri, in his 20s, from the town of Hafar al-Batin, who first came to the authorities’ attention in 2014 after allegedly uploading videos showing men and women dancing which led to him being charged with atheism and blasphemy.
He was arrested on charges of apostasy, atheism, and blasphemy and held in prison before being convicted by a local court and sentenced to death in February 2015.
In the original case against Shamri, his legal team said that he was under the influence of drugs and alcohol and therefore technically insane, according to Erem News.
He reportedly lost an Appeals Court case, and a Supreme Court ruled against him earlier this week, effectively sending him to his death.
Islam’s legal system – Sharia – says apostasy covers a wide range of offences, including conversion to another religion, idol worship, or insulting the Holy Prophet (PBUH) and the Holy Quran.
While some scholars favour the death penalty, others say the punishment should be left to God on the Day of Judgement.
The late Ayatollah Khomeini, Iran’s religious and political leader, famously denounced the author Salman Rushdie as an apostate for his novel The Satanic Verses – and said he should be killed.
Saudi Arabia, Pakistan and Afghanistan also uphold strict interpretations.