No court ruling on Turk arrested in S. Arabia

Officials from the Turkish Embassy in Riyadh have made it clear that there has been no judicial decision regarding a Turkish citizen currently under arrest on charges of “insulting Prophet Mohammed.” 

Ersin Taze, owner of a barber shop in Saudi Arabia but originally from the south Anatolian province of Hatay, was arrested by Saudi authorities about 20 days ago. Both the Turkish Foreign Ministry and the Turkish Embassy in Saudi Arabia launched initiatives to get information about his situation from the very day of his arrest, embassy officials said yesterday. Ambassador Naci Koru sent letters to several senior officials, and the embassy is trying to resolve the issue before it gets as far as court, the same officials said. Sabri Boğday, another Turkish barber working in Saudi Arabia, was recently sentenced to the execution on grounds of blasphemy after an argument with a Saudi client and an Egyptian neighbor. An appeals court recently upheld the death sentence against Boğday, who worked in Jeddah for 11 years as a barber. The sentence can be still reversed by a higher legal body or by a royal pardon.  Saudi Arabia has long practiced a harsh form of Shariah rule under which murderers and drug smugglers may be executed, thieves lose their hands and adulterers are stoned to death.








24 May 2008, Saturday


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