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Saudi convert to Christianity leaves Lebanon for Turkey

Published:

A 28-year-old woman believed to be a Saudi citizen, who made headlines escaping to Lebanon after converting to Christianity, has now left for Turkey, UAE daily Gulf news reported on Monday.

“The Lebanese government has informed the Saudi embassy in Beirut that the girl has left the country for Turkey,” Awadh Aseeri, the Saudi ambassador, said.

“The Lebanese authorities said that they were not sure whether the woman would settle in Turkey or would move on to another country,” reported the Saudi daily Al Sharq.

She had allegedly been living in Beirut with assistance from a Saudi national and a Lebanese national.

Her case became known when her father filed a lawsuit against the two men for what he claimed was their role in influencing her and in helping her leave Saudi Arabia without his knowledge.

According to Gulf News, the Saudi envoy said the family had tried to convince the woman to return home amid assurances that she would be safe. Aseer added that there was no evidence indicating that she had converted to Christianity.

Reports that she had been living in a church in Beirut were quickly dismissed by local Christian groups.

A social networking site posted a video of an alleged interview with the woman, where she appeared veiled and her identity could not immediately be verified. In the video she stated that she willingly converted after having a dream.

Saudi Arabia adheres to a strict interpretation of Sharia law where committing "Ridda" (the religious term for when Muslims denounce Islam or convert to other religions) can be subjected to the death penalty.

*Link to YouTube video of alleged interview: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZiLZ8U5Q7mY