A Saudi Arabian court has sentenced an Australian man to 500 lashes and a year in jail for alleged blasphemy. Mansor Almaribe is accused of insulting the companions of the Prophet Muhammad while making a pilgrimage earlier this year.
The precise nature of the 45-year-old’s alleged blasphemy have not been revealed, but family members say he was reading and praying when he was arrested. He was initially sentenced to 500 lashes and two years in jail, but the jail term was subsequently reduced.
His family say that he has a bad back and that the 500 lashes could kill him. The Australian consulate has been in contact with the Saudi authorities to try to secure leniency, but so far it would appear that the government aims to make Mansor Almaribe an example of how it treats foreigners.