Admit it, skeptics, you were hoping this story was going to be about Uri Geller. I know I was. The Independent reports that Lebanese TV psychic Ali Sibat will not be put to death after all. Saudi Arabia sentenced Sibat to death by decapitation for witchcraft after he was apprehended in the kingdom during a pilgrimage to Mecca in 2008. Didn't see that coming, did he?
This oddball story highlights a serious human rights issue. Saudi Arabia persecutes anyone whose lifestyle conflicts with its interpretation of Islam. Sibat is just one of scores of people prosecuted for witchcraft, sorcery and other "occult" offenses in Saudi Arabia every year.
Thanks to some diplomatic sleight of hand, Sibat's life will be spared. No word on when, or if, the 49-year-old father of 5 will be allowed to go home.
Photo credit: Lindsay Beyerstein.