Saudi Arabia Beheads Woman for Practicing 'Sorcery'

A Saudi woman was beheaded on Monday following a conviction of practicing sorcery, which the ultra-conservative kingdom bans, Saudi Arabia’s interior ministry said.

The execution of Amina bint Abdulhalim Nassar took place in the northern province of Jawf for "practicing witchcraft and sorcery," the ministry said in a statement carried by the Saudi Press Agency.

The latest beheading brings the number of executions in the kingdom up to 73 this year, Amnesty International said. The exact number of women executed remains unknown, but another woman was beheaded in October after being convicted of killing her husband by setting his house on fire, AFP reported.

"The charges of 'witchcraft and sorcery' are not defined as crimes in Saudi Arabia," said Philip Luther, Amnesty’s interim director of the Middle East and North Africa.

"To use them to subject someone to the cruel and extreme penalty of execution is truly appalling," he said in a statement, stressing the "urgent need" to stop executions.

Saudi Arabia's strict interpretation of Islamic Shariah law calls for the death penalty for offenses such as rape, murder, apostasy, armed robbery and drug trafficking.