The cases against alleged witches also frequently involve sting operations conducted by religious police. According to Amnesty International, a Sudanese migrant named Abdul Hamid bin Hussein Moustafa al-Fakki -- executed in Medina in September for "sorcery" -- was first arrested in 2005 when an undercover agent for the religious police asked him to produce a spell that would cause the man's father to leave his second wife, which al-Fakki allegedly offered to do for $1,600. The Saudi Gazette tells a story of a female religious police agent who entrapped an elusive witch by expressing a desire for her husband to be turned into an "unquestioning obedient man."
There's evidence that the cases may involve coerced confessions and miscarriages of justice as well. Human Rights Watch chronicles the plight of an illiterate Saudi woman named Fawza Falih who was beaten, forced to fingerprint a confession that she could not read, tried without a lawyer, and sentenced to death for "witchcraft, recourse to jinn [supernatural beings], and slaughter" of animals after a man accused Falih of rendering him impotent and authorities found a "foul-smelling substance," a white robe with money inside it, and another robe hanging from a tree in or near her home.
The most prominent witchcraft case came in 2008, when a Saudi court slapped a death sentence on Ali Sabat, a Lebanese television personality on a religious pilgrimage to Medina, for making psychic predictions on a Lebanon-based satellite channel (the picture above shows Lebanese human rights activists fashioning a mock gallows outside the Saudi embassy in Beirut to demand Sabat's release). Sabat's lawyer told NPR that the Saudi religious police arrested Sabat after recognizing him from television and pressured him to confess to violating Islam if he hoped to return to Lebanon (his confession landed him a beheading instead, though the Saudi Supreme Court eventually freed Sabat after ruling that his actions hadn't harmed anyone). This BBC report on the case shows clips from Sabat's television show in Lebanon:
Sabat was freed after a protracted international campaign for his release and the intervention of high-ranking Lebanese officials. But Amina bint Abdul Halim bin Salem Nasser wasn't so lucky. On Monday, the BBC noted that while Nasser was arrested in 2009, Amnesty International didn't hear of her case until it was too late.