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Pleas for condemned Saudi 'witch'

“In a letter to King Abdullah, the rights group described the trial and conviction of Fawza Falih as a miscarriage of justice.

The illiterate woman was detained by religious police in 2005 and allegedly beaten and forced to fingerprint a confession that she could not read.

Among her accusers was a man who alleged she made him impotent.”

Let the winds strip the calendar back to glorious January, when our beloved leader, President Backbone, made the democracy tour in the Middle East. Among the chroniclers of a moral moment that rivaled Jesus preaching on the mountain and Buddha’s revelation under a sweet gum tree, nobody’s tongue worked as eagerly on the presidential behind as Michael Abramowitz, the Washington Post chronicler of all the fun and goofy things our, well, greatest president ever did on his fabulous trip. The highlight of the tour was, of course, our consultation with our great democratic ally in the fight against the intolerable totalitarianism of Iran (pause for booing…):

“Bush is devoting two days of his Middle East trip to Saudi Arabia, much of it to private meetings with the king, who is hosting the president at his guest palace here and at the farm near Riyadh where Abdullah raises Arabian stallions. That amounts to an unusual commitment of diplomatic time, reflecting both the large role Saudi Arabia plays in U.S. economic and foreign policy and a desire to strengthen a relationship that has frayed badly over the past seven years.

Some diplomats and experts with close ties to the administration say meeting with Abdullah has been the main purpose of the president's trip to the region.

One senior administration official traveling with the president said this week that Bush regards the octogenarian Abdullah as "really a remarkable figure," citing the king's role in starting reforms such as municipal elections and in regional diplomacy, and that the president intends to reaffirm their "close personal relationship."
White House counselor Edward W. Gillespie described the one-on-one time with the king, who is known to dislike diplomacy conducted over the phone, as a "very important" part of the visit to Saudi Arabia.

Despite the outward display of affection on the tarmac, the relationship has also been tense and uneasy for much of Bush's tenure, according to former senior officials and experts on Saudi Arabia.

"The president has a personal bond with the king," said Dan Bartlett, Bush's former counselor. "This visit will go a long way to keeping relations on the right track. The personal diplomacy that the president likes to use will resonate with the way the kingdom does foreign policy, because it is so dominated by the king himself."

The Post is a tout paper for the bizarre Weltanschauung of D.C. elite, a world view and language which makes gangsta rap, by contrast, seem reality based. Unfortunately, these revelers in spilling blood they will never see cause blood en masse to be spilt and bodies to pile up on the invisible margins, where we can dicker about them later (300,000 Iraqis murdered or 600,000? yours to guess). In this imperial farce, there are two pillars – Israel is not to be criticized, and Saudi Arabia is not to be mentioned. Thus, if Iran hangs a man for homosexuality, there will be four WAPO op ed pieces about it and one editorial, notching it up as just one more casus belli. If Saudi Arabia burns a witch, the story won’t happen in the Post. The Saudis are our allies, after all, in the long, long, long, long war to democratize everything and destroy terra-ism.

'Undefined' crime
The US-based group is asking the Saudi ruler to void Ms Falih's conviction and to bring charges against the religious police who detained her and are alleged to have mistreated her.
Its letter to King Abdullah says the woman was tried for the undefined crime of witchcraft and that her conviction was on the basis of the written statements of witnesses who said that she had bewitched them.
Human Rights Watch says the trial failed to meet the safeguards in the Saudi justice system.
The confession which the defendant was forced to fingerprint was not even read out to her, the group says.
Also Ms Falih and her representatives were not allowed to attend most of the hearings.
When an appeal court decided she should not be executed, the law courts imposed the death sentence again, arguing that it would be in the public interest.

RIYADH, Saudi Arabia, Jan. 15--One of the more surreal scenes of the eight-day presidential trip to the Middle East may have taken place this evening at the lavish Al Janadriyah Ranch, the so-called "horse farm" where Saudi King Abdullah entertains his most favored guests and raises Arabian stallions.
When the president arrived for dinner, a little before 7 p.m. local time, he was wearing a black full-length robe with bluish-silver trim and seeming eminently pleased, as Steven Lee Myers of the New York Times described it in his pool report last night. Later, when he sat down with the king and took off the robe, it became clear that it was lined with fur.
When his aides showed up, they too were wearing similar robes. The contingent included White House Chief of Staff Josh Bolten, Counselor Ed Gillespie, Press Secretary Dana Perino and--most curiously perhaps--National Security Council staffer Elliott Abrams, better known in Washington as possibly Israel's staunchest supporter inside the White House.

When asked by Newsweek reporter Michael Hirsh, Elliott of Arabia said he was allowed to keep the robe, suggesting these were gifts for all.

Perhaps Bush is right that the time is ripe for Middle East peace."