TV host's beheading delayed

April 2, 2010 at 10:52 AM

RIYADH, Saudi Arabia, April 2 (UPI) -- A former Lebanese TV host scheduled to be beheaded in Saudi Arabia Friday was granted a temporary reprieve, his attorney said.

May el-Khansa, who represents Ali Sabat, told the BBC she was assured by a Lebanese minister that the execution would not occur as scheduled.

Sabat, who was the host of a satellite television program and made predictions about the future. The program was viewed in Saudi Arabia. He was arrested bySaudi religious police while in a pilgrimage to Saudi Arabia in 2008 and eventually convicted of sorcery, the British broadcaster said.

"The minister of justice for Lebanon called me and told me that nothing would happen (Friday). But after that, I don't have an answer as to if he will be alive or not," Khansa told the BBC.

Khansa said her client had confessed but only because he was told he could return to Lebanon if he did.

The attorney had said in an earlier CNN report the execution was to be a beheading.

Saudi officials had not confirmed the execution was delayed, the BBC said.

Amnesty International said Sabat appears to have been convicted for exercising "his right to freedom of expression."

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