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Saudi barber faces beheading for cursing

May 30, 2008 at 10:57 AM

JEDDAH, Saudi Arabia, May 30 (UPI) -- Taking God's name in vain is a familiar profanity but could lead to the beheading of a Turkish barber in the Saudi Arabian city of Jeddah, court records show.

Currently awaiting appeal on his sentence, Sabri Bogday allegedly cursed during an argument with a neighbor who later complained to police, the Los Angeles Times reported Friday.

Bogday has been in jail for 13 months and Turkish President Abdullah Gul has asked Saudi King Abdullah to spare him. But, the Arab News Daily said it all may rest on arcane interpretations of Islamic religious law by fundamentalist Muslim judges.

In a nation ruled by a strict Wahhabi brand of Islamic justice, public beheadings can be handed out for crimes including murder, rape and heresy.

A lawyer says some judges consider it heresy and infidelity to take God's name in vain, and rule that the accused cannot repent. Others see it as disbelief, allowing the accused to retract what he has said and repent.

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