Saudi Arabia Sentences Men to Prison, Lashings for Role in Woman's Conversion to Christianity
Religion TodayReligious persecution, missions, Christianity around the world
- 2013 May 21
Two men accused of helping a young woman flee Saudi Arabia after her conversion to Christianity were sentenced to prison terms and lashes with a whip by a Saudi court last week, International Christian Concern reports. The case comes weeks after an independent U.S. government advisory body listed Saudi Arabia among the top violators of religious freedom. A Lebanese Christian man was sentenced to six years in prison and 300 lashes and a Saudi man was sentenced to two years and 200 lashes by a court in Khobar for their involvement in a Saudi woman's conversion to Christianity and her escape abroad. The men, who worked at an insurance company with the young woman, Maryam, were arrested last July after Maryam appeared on a YouTube video announcing her conversion to Christianity and a complaint was subsequently filed by her father. The case began when Maryam appeared on a YouTube video last July announcing her conversion to Christianity. Maryam fled to Sweden several months ago and is reportedly applying for asylum. Abandoning Islam, also known as apostasy, and proselytizing are illegal under Saudi law, and judges have authority to determine the offender's punishment in accordance to their interpretation of the country's sharia code of Islamic law, which permits the death penalty for apostates. The lawyer representing Maryam's family expressed satisfaction with the men's severe verdict.