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Australian Citizen to receive 500 lashes and 1 yr in Prison for blasphemy

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Australian Citizen to receive 500 lashes and 1 yr in Prison for blasphemy

Post  Panda on Sun 11 Dec - 10:16

CNN) -- Australia appealed for leniency after one of
its citizens was sentenced Wednesday to 500 lashes and a year in prison
by a Saudi Arabian court.
Mansor Almaribe, 45, was found guilty of blasphemy after he was
arrested last month in Medina while on a pilgrimage, Australian
officials said.

It's unclear what Almaribe, a Shia Muslim from Victoria state, said or did to get arrested.

"The ambassador has urgently contacted Saudi authorities and will
make strong representations, including to key figures in the Saudi
government, seeking leniency," said Kate Sieper, a foreign affairs

Man sentenced to 500 lashes

Family members said they are worried about his health.

"He is sick, and he has back injuries and he has diabetes," his son, Issam Almaribe, told CNN affiliate 9 News Australia.

Saudi Foreign Ministry spokesman Usama Al-Nugali said that the court system has an appeal process that Almaribe can resort to.

"We don't comment on court decisions or legal procedures. However,
any court pleading, primary and judicial decisions could be appealed in
the appeals court. All individuals have the right for a defense
attorney, including non-Saudis who also enjoy the right of the presence
of their diplomatic mission," he said.

Consular officials have contacted Almaribe several times by phone
since his arrest in mid-November, and were in the courtroom during the
reading of the verdict.

Australian officials said they were informed he was convicted of
blasphemy and "making comments insulting to prophet Mohammed's

His sentence was originally two years imprisonment along with the 500
lashes, but the court reduced the sentence by a year, consular
officials said. It was unclear when the lashing punishment will be
carried out.

Blasphemy is punishable by up to a death sentence under the strict Muslim law in Saudi Arabia.

CNN's Mohammed Jamjoom contributed to this report.

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