Oil is harmless, except for the trace of poverty it leaves behind
the day, when the faces of those who discover another oil well go dark,
and your heart — will be filled with new life so that your soul is resurrected as oil
for public consumption.
This is the promise of oil — a promise that will come to pass—
— Ashraf Fayadh
(Trans. by Mona Kareem)
Palestinian-born Ashraf Fayadh was arrested by Saudi religious police in August 2013 and charged with cursing Allah and the prophet Muhammad, insulting Saudi Arabia, and promoting atheism with his poetry. He was released on bail, but was arrested again on January 1, 2014. On November 17, 2015, he was sentenced to death for heresy. In February 2016, his death sentence was commuted to eight years in prison and 800 lashes.