Australia has appealed for the leniency of Saudi Arabiaâ€™s court system after a citizen of the country was sentenced to 500 lashes and one-year imprisonment. Mason Almaribe was found guilty of committing blasphemy last month while on pilgrimage in Medina. Although the court is adamant of is guilt, it is unclear of what he actually said or did to get himself arrested in the country.
Australian ambassadors have urged Saudi authorities to be lenient with Almaribe. His family has proclaimed that he has injuries on his back and he also has diabetes. Usama Al-Nugali, the spokesman for the Saudi Foreign Ministry, has said that the Saudi Arabian court system has an appeals process that he can resort to in the matter.
Consulate officials have been in contact with Almaribe since the arrest in November and were with him during the verdict reading. Australian officials have said that they were informed of his charges. Almaribe was convicted of blasphemy and â€œmaking comments insulting the prophet Mohammedâ€™s relativesâ€ according to CNN.
The original sentence was for two years of imprisonment, however, this has been cut down to one year. It is not known when and where the lashings will take place. Blasphemy can be punishable by death in Saudi Arabia under Muslim law. Saudi Arabia is known for their lashings. Usually, lashings do not take place all at once. For men, lashings will usually take part every week. This can be broken up into 50 or so lashings. For women, lashings are usually broken up into sets of 20-30.
A doctor is administered before the lashings to make sure that the prisoner is fit to be lashed. The doctor usually does not look over the wounds after the lashing. The most dangerous part of the lashings could come from infections if the skin is broken during the punishment.