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Wed 7 Dec 2011 02:54 PM

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Australian given 500 lashes for blasphemy in Saudi

Father-of-five visiting Gulf kingdom for hajj receives five-year jail term for insults

Australian given 500 lashes for blasphemy in Saudi
Mansor Almaribe was charged with insuling the companions of the Prophet Mohammed (PBUH)

An Australian man has been sentenced to 500 lashes and a year in prison in Saudi Arabia for breaking the country's strict blasphemy laws during a hajj pilgrimage last month.

Australia's Department of Foreign Affairs said it was very concerned about the well-being of the man, named in media reports as Mansor Almaribe, a 45-year-old father of five.

"The Australian Government has a universal policy of condemning the use of corporal punishment amounting to torture, or cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment," a spokeswoman for Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd said in a statement.

Australia's ambassador had contacted the Saudi government, seeking leniency, she added.

"Five hundred slashes on his back and he has back problems. I wouldn't think he'd survive 50," one of the man's sons, Mohammed Almaribe, told the Australia Broadcasting Corp.

A spokesman from the Saudi justice ministry did not respond to calls and messages for comment. The Australian Associated Press said the man had been accused of insulting the companions of the Prophet Mohammad (PBUH).

The sentence comes a day after a Chinese court sentenced an Australian businessman to 13 years in prison for fraud in a case that raised fresh foreign concerns about China's murky legal system.

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procan 8 years ago

That's just not right, its and execution in reality. Punish OK but lets keep it balanced.

abdul hafeez sheikh 8 years ago

Whenever any person from so called developed countries is caught and sentenced , then the media starts condemning the law of that country (mostly Muslim Country) , but they do not condemn the person who has broken the law and has been found guilty . KSA has its own system of Justice and the people visiting KSA must realize that they have to follow the laws of KSA , if they do not like the laws of KSA then better not to visit.

procan 8 years ago

Respectfully Abdul its not your law, its the level of punishment. Death is a harsh penalty for a foul mouth and 500 lashes could mean death.

Doug 8 years ago

Can we also apply this logic to the people who visit Europe and don't like the laws? I completely agree with you - this man broke Saudi law and should be punished. I believe the punishment is unfair and unduly harsh but that is the Saudi legal system and if this person was travelling on a Hajj then he should have known what to expect.

Equally, Saudi women should also know to expect that they won't be able to wear their niqab in public in France and if they don't like that law, they are welcome to visit another destination

Nadia Dubai 8 years ago

Abdul - the punishment needs to fit the crime.
The reason their is so much media outrage around the globe (not just from 'developed' countries) is that KSA has some really twisted ideals of punishment.
As for 'better not to visit' - it is one of this man's pillars to visit HAJ so that is not up for discussion.

Abdullah 8 years ago

Being a Saudi and knowing how it is in KSA, I think there are a lot of things missing in this article. And I simply do not believe that story.

Jake 8 years ago

I would like to put this story into perspective. The following was reported earlier today.

"RIYADH: An official Saudi newspaper says a man convicted of raping his daughter has been sentenced to receive 2,080 lashes over the course of a 13-year prison term.

The court in the holy city of Mecca found the man guilty of raping his teenage daughter for seven years while under the influence of drugs"