Only gets prison and lashes for leaving Islam

A Saudi court has ruled that a Palestinian poet is allowed to live, even if he left the faith of Islam. The man must serve eight years in prison and endure 800 lashes, though.

CNN reports a court in Saudi Arabia overturned the death sentence of Ashraf Fayadh. The poet had been sentenced to death on blasphemy charges related to his poetry.

The court that overruled the death sentence upheld an apostasy conviction. In Saudi Arabai, apostasy  is the abandonment of Islam.

The eight-year prison sentence and the 800 lashes are punishment for the apostasy conviction. The 800 lashes will be spread out over 16 sessions.

Fayadh’s lawyer says his client is innocent, and he will appeal the latest court ruling.

The defendant’s sister says Fayadh did not do anything blasphemous. Rather, Fayadh was accused by a man with animosity toward him, she said.

Saudi prosecutors initially charged Fayadh with insulting the Prophet Mohammed, mocking the Quran and spreading atheism.

A liberal Saudi blogger recently received a 10-year prison sentence and 1,000 lashes for insulting Islam.