Saudi Arabia has sentenced a Yemeni
national to death after he refused to wake up for prayers and denounced Islam and the Saudi religious police.
A Saudi court in Jedda sentenced the Yemeni national to death on Jan. 7.
Saudi newspapers said Hail Al Masri was originally sentenced
to two years imprisonment and 600 lashes. But a higher court headed by Ali
Al Zahrani rejected the sentence and ruled that Al Masri should be
The reports said Al Masri tried to jump from the third floor where
the courtroom was located after the death sentence was read. Al Masri was
seriously injured in the fall and taken to a local hospital.
Al Masri was charged with refusing the appeals of his roommate to wake
up for early morning prayers. When the roommate insisted, Al Masri began
cursing him, Islam and Saudi religious police.
The roommate complained to authorities and Al Masri was arrested. Other
university students testified that Al Masri also slapped his roommate.
The Washington-based Saudi Institute said Saudi Arabia has not formally
announced the death sentence. The opposition group said a Saudi reporter who
covered the court proceedings refused to speak with the institute in
fear of government reprisal.
The institute called on the United States to pressure Saudi Arabia to
commute Al Masri's death sentence. The group urged for appeals to be sent to
former President Jimmy Carter, winner of Noble Prize and a friend of Saudi
The appeal came as Saudi Crown Prince Abdullah Bin Abdul Aziz began a
dialogue with intellectuals over the prospect of democratic reforms. They
included a proposal to elect the current Shura Council, which examines
domestic issues and issues recommendations for legislation.