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Saudi Arabia trial on alleged conversion trial postponed

Witnesses failed to show up to give their testimonies

Gulf News

Manama: A Saudi court has postponed for the fifth time the trial of a Saudi and a Lebanese on charges of helping a local woman convert to Christianity and fleeing the country.

The postponement by one week was attributed to the failure of witnesses working with the Saudi woman and the Lebanese man to show up at the court to give their testimony.

Humood Al Khalidi, the family’s lawyer, said that the court was also waiting for an answer from the passport authorities on how the Saudi convert, whose name was never revealed, was able to leave the country, local news site Sabq reported on Sunday.

Reports in the eastern city of Al Khobar said that she had a permit that allowed her to leave through the King Fahad Causeway before boarding a plane to Lebanon where she remained for some time before moving to Turkey and later to Sweden.

Al Khalidi said that there was no contact with the woman in Sweden where she is believed to be living.

“This absence of communication has had very negative effects on the family,” he said.

A videotaped interview allegedly conducted with the woman by a pro-Christianity television station was posted on a social network in the summer.

However, its authenticity was later challenged among claims that the woman, whose lower part of the face was covered during the talk, was not Saudi although she spoke with a strong Saudi accent.

According to Saudi media, the woman told her family over the phone that she regretted leaving her homeland and that she was forced to stay with the people who looked after her.

She said that she had been warned she would face certain death if she returned to Saudi Arabia. However, the family told the media that they had pledged in writing not to harm her and that they just wanted her to return safely.

The case was made public after the woman’s father filed a lawsuit against a Saudi man and a Lebanese national for their alleged influence on her to convert to Christianity and their role in facilitating her departure from home.