Entries in Woman (7)


Saudi Woman Beheaded for 'Witchcraft'

Hemera/Thinkstock(RIYADH, Saudi Arabia) -- A Saudi woman was beheaded after being convicted of practicing "witchcraft and sorcery," according to the Saudi Interior Ministry, at least the second such execution for sorcery this year.

The woman, Amina bint Abdulhalim Nassar, was executed in the northern Saudi province of al-Jawf on Monday.

A source close to the Saudi religious police told Arab newspaper al Hayat that authorities who searched Nassar's home found a book about witchcraft, 35 veils and glass bottles full of "an unknown liquid used for sorcery" among her possessions. According to reports, authorities said Nassar claimed to be a healer and would sell a veil and three bottles for 1500 riyals, or about $400.

According to the ministry, Nassar's death sentence was upheld by an appeals court and the Saudi Supreme Judicial Council.

Philip Luther, the interim direct of Amnesty International's Middle East and North Africa program, condemned Nassar's killing, calling it "deeply shocking."

"The charges of 'witchcraft and sorcery' are not defined as crimes in Saudi Arabia and to use them to subject someone to the cruel and extreme penalty of execution is truly appalling," Luther said.

Luther said that a charge of sorcery is often used by the Saudi government as a smokescreen under which they punish people for exercising freedom of speech.

Nassar was not the first person to be executed for alleged witchcraft by the Saudi government this year. In September, a Sudanese man was publicly decapitated with a sword in the city of Medina after he was found guilty of the same crime.

According to Amnesty International, at least 79 people have been executed in Saudi Arabia so far in 2011, more than three times as many as in 2010. The human rights group condemned the kingdom's reliance on capital punishment.

"Where the death penalty is used, under international law it should only be applied to the most serious crimes," Luther said.

The Saudi embassy in Washington did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Woman Disappears from US Air Base in Japan

U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class JustinVeazie(OKINAWA, Japan) -- An international search is underway for Kelli Cribbs Abad, an American mother of two from Georgia who disappeared from a U.S. Air Force base more than a month ago.

Abad, who is stationed at the Kadena Air Base near Okinawa with her Air Force husband and children, was last seen leaving the gate of the base on Oct 26. Investigators found her abandoned sport utility vehicle about 10 miles from the base.

Abad has two young children -- a 4-year-old daughter and a 22-month-old son -- and has been living in Okinawa with her husband for three years. U.S. and Japanese authorities have searched the area by land, air and sea with divers, helicopters and boats. They’ve also searched nearby caves and cliffs, but haven’t found a trace of the young mother in the rugged terrain.

Abad’s mother Janice Cribbs flew to Japan from Georgia to help in the search. She recorded a desperate appeal for her daughter’s safe return, holding a flyer with a tip line, and posted the video online. She’s also set up a Facebook page, hoping for clues or suggestions.

Friends of Abad, who are stateside, can’t believe she would leave her children.  Melissa Banks was stationed with her husband at the same base and knew the Abads.

“She’s a very good mother,” Banks said. “I remember giving her maternity clothes before she was even pregnant. She wanted another child that badly. So I don’t think she would have left her children because she was just a wonderful mother.”

Abad is 5’7" with sandy blonde hair. Her face has appeared on missing person flyers attached to poles and bus stops across the military base and at Japanese police stations.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Missing in Aruba: Woman's Boyfriends Clash over Her Last Hours

Courtesy of Richard Forester(ORANJESTAD, Aruba) -- On the last day she was seen alive, Robyn Gardner was groggy from sleeping pills, vodka and a meal when she went into the water in Aruba where she quickly cut her toe, forcing her out of the water, a source told ABC News.

But the 35-year-old Maryland woman ventured back into the water a second time, and that was when she was allegedly caught by treacherous currents, her companion Gary Giordano has told police, the source said.

Giordano's version of events emerged as doubt has been cast by witnesses in recent days that Gardner ever went into the water. A witness at the restaurant where the couple was last seen together expressed surprise at the claim that Gardner went snorkeling because of the obvious effort she had put into her hair and make-up that evening.

A second witness claims to have seen the couple stroll on the beach, but not enter the water.

Giordano, 50, is being held in an Aruban jail and is the lone suspect in Gardner's disappearance, although he has not been charged with a crime. Aruban police have said they believe Gardner is dead.

Giordano has previously stated that Gardner had taken sleeping pills earlier that day and the two drank vodka at the Marriott Hotel before showing up at the Rum Reef Bar & Grill in the Baby Beach area of the island on the Aug. 2 evening that she vanished.

People at the beachfront restaurant said she was woozy and barely ate her salad.

But the source said that she did go in the water, gashing her toe on her first attempt to go swimming. She retreated with her toe bleeding, and a spot of blood was found near where the couple's rental car had been parked, the source said. Forensics is still testing the blood.

The source also said that helicopters spotted two sharks and a giant sea turtle in the area about the same time that Gardner vanished.

Gardner's live-in boyfriend Robert Forester scoffed at the latest claims, telling ABC’s Good Morning America that Gardner was not the type to go swimming or to take sleeping pills.

"I've never known Robyn to take any sleeping pills in the middle of day, nor do I know why anybody would take sleeping pills during the middle of the day," Forester said.

"But let's go with his word here," Forester said of Giordano. "So you say she was taking sleeping pills, then you give her vodka? And then you take her snorkeling? Really? Why would anybody do that?"

"Obviously I don't believe anything he's saying," Forester said.

Investigators are also looking into Giordano's claim that Gardner took out a travel insurance policy for up to $1.5 million before the Aruba getaway and named Giordano the beneficiary of the policy.

The ABC News source says a witness was present when Gardner named Giordano as the beneficiary on the travel insurance policy, and that Gardner was fully coherent when she signed it.

Forester said that he is upset that the woman he was considering marrying was off an island tryst with another man.

"Am I angry that she was there with him? Of course. Do I ask myself why and what she was thinking? Yes," said Forester. "But I can't let that consume me. What does consume me is what we can we do to find her. What I'd like to see as soon as possible is a search with canines."

The last contact Forester had with Gardner, his girlfriend of more than two years, was a message from her around 3 p.m. on Aug. 2, saying, in part, "I love you, I care about you, we'll talk and sort this out when I get back."

The ABC News source says that message was sent with the intention of ending the relationship when she returned to Maryland, something Forester also disputes.

Photos taken of Gardner and Giordano just before she disappeared were obtained by ABC News Tuesday. They show her leaving the restaurant with Giordano. She is wearing a long dress that Forester said was her favorite dress.

The time stamp on the photo is 4:12 p.m. on Aug. 2. Surveillance video shows Giordano back at the restaurant at 6:02 p.m., trying to alert people that Gardner had vanished.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Aruba Requests FBI Help in Missing Woman Case

ABC News(ORANJESTAD, Aruba) -- Aruba is asking the FBI to obtain phone records and other personal history of the man being held as a suspect in the disappearance of Robyn Gardner, according to the Aruba prosecutor's office.

Gary Giordano, 50, is being held as a suspect in Gardner's disappearance, which he claims happened while the pair was snorkeling together in the same Aruba town where another American woman, Natalee Holloway, disappeared six years ago. Authorities arrested Giordano Friday as he was boarding a plane to the U.S., following statements he made to the police that seemed suspicious, police said.

The country has drafted a request to the FBI to ask for their help investigating the case in the U.S., according to Taco Stein, spokesperson for the prosecutor's office. Stein said they are looking for help getting information from third parties, including cell phone companies.

Aruba investigators are looking to establish the pair's whereabouts and activities in the days and hours leading up to Gardner's disappearance so that they can present it to a judge on Monday in order to keep Giordano in the country longer, Stein said. Giordano has not been charged with a crime, but a judge can order him held for another eight days on suspicion, Stein said. The court appearance will be closed to the public.

The Aruba police had been in contact with the FBI and American authorities since the beginning of the investigation, Stein said, though they had not formally requested their help until now.

Giordano's attorney in Aruba, Michael Lopez, said there is no evidence that supports a murder charge for his client.

Giordano was originally treated as a witness to a drowning and was told by police he was allowed to leave the island, according to Taco H.W. Stein, spokesperson for the Aruba prosecutor's office. However, when parts of Giordano's story did not add up, they decided to arrest him, Stein said. He was arrested Friday as he attempted to board a flight to the U.S., according to police.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Prominent Syrian Blogger Disappears in Damascus

George Doyle/Stockbyte(DAMASCUS, Syria) -- Amina Abdallah, a blogger who has gained recognition during the Syrian uprising for her blog "A Gay Girl in Damascus," has disappeared.

Abdallah's cousin wrote on the blog that Amina was taken Monday by three men in their 20s "assumed to be members of one of the security services or the Baath Party militia."

"One of the men then put his hand over Amina's mouth and they hustled her into a red Dacia Logan with a window sticker of Basel Assad," Rania Ismail wrote.

Abdallah describes her blog as "An out Syrian lesbian's thoughts on life, the universe and so on..." --  this, in a country where homosexuality is not just taboo, but illegal.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Japan: 80-Year-Old Woman, Grandson Pulled from Rubble

ABC News(ISHINOMAKI, Japan) -- Rescuers in Japan freed an 80-year-old woman and her 16-year-old grandson from a house in Ishinomaki, Miyagi Prefecture, Sunday, more than a week after a 9.0-magnitude earthquake spawned a devastating tsunami that demolished their house and left thousands in the country dead.

The woman was apparently pinned under her fridge. The two survived nine days – eating yogurt from the fridge – until the grandson flagged down rescuers by standing on the rooftop.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Female Suicide Bomber Kills Dozens in Pakistan

Photo Courtesy - ASIF HASSAN/AFP/Getty Images(KHAR, Pakistan) -- At least 40 people were killed and another 50 injured when a suspected female suicide bomber attacked a crowd of people receiving aid Saturday in a tribal region of Pakistan near the Afghan border.

“She threw a hand grenade, and before the security force could respond, she detonated herself,” an area official told The New York Times.

Several of the victims were reportedly children.

The attack is the latest in a string of violence in northwest Pakistan.

No group has yet claimed responsibility for the bombing.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio