Australian free after Saudi lashing

2012-01-12 12:37

Melbourne - An Australian man has been released from a Saudi prison after his jail term for blasphemy was commuted and his punishment reduced to 75 lashes, his family and the government said on Thursday.

Mansor Almaribe, 45, was detained in the city of Medina on November 14 while making the hajj pilgrimage and accused of insulting companions of the Prophet Mohammed.

The father-of-five was sentenced to 500 lashes and 12 months in jail. But Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd's office said he had been granted a pardon from his prison sentence, and was on his way home.

"His corporal punishment was also greatly reduced and administered in a way that did not cause physical harm," a spokesperson for Rudd said.

Some reports suggested that Almaribe, from Shepparton in Victoria state, was allowed to wear a coat while he was being whipped.

Rudd's office said they appealed for leniency to senior Saudi officials and members of the royal family.

Melbourne newspapers said Almaribe's sentence was reduced to 75 lashes and quoted his son Isaam as saying "my dad is very tired but he can make it to Melbourne".

"We're all sad about the lashes but we're still happy that my dad is finally (coming) back," he added.

His family had earlier said Almaribe suffered from diabetes and heart disease and they had grave fears for his health.

  • Blade - 2012-01-12 12:43

    If Australia had any balls they would bomb Saudi in retaliation for harming one of their citizens. Then take the oil they dont deserve to have.

  • Vivian - 2012-01-12 12:57

    Aussie huh, sounds like he is of Arab nationality, serves him right ha ha

  • Ballito - 2012-01-12 13:01

    you wouldnt dare bomb the arabs remember they control the americans ask the bushes they will tell u.america will stand for the sauds instead of the aussies trust me blade.i do understand u are 1 dumb ball.lmao.You sound like u have no balls

      Blade - 2012-01-12 14:34

      Ask the bushes? I thought you asked your ancestors for guidance...bushes too? And trees?

      Larry - 2012-01-12 14:53

      Geez Ballito, you are amazing! What is it that you are smoking?

  • RobertaKeeling - 2012-01-12 13:29

    And these people are sonsidered civilised? Don't make me laugh - they're still savages, never mind how much money they have. And their treatment of women is also disgusting!

      Ebon - 2012-01-12 14:17

      It's a different culture with different rules and values. I don't agree with those rules and values either, but it is their country, not mine, and the fact is that most Saudis (including women) are very happy with their country just the way it is. If you don't like it, don't go there. No one is forcing you. Have you ever considered how Saudi Arabians might view South African civilisation, or the way we treat our women (just look at SA's rape stats for example)? Nay, I say it would be far better to respect foreign cultures and the right of those living there to choose what they want. Try to understand them rather than just pass judgement. It's funny how easy it is to condemn a foreign country for the way they choose to deal with someone committing a crime in their country, yet we get upset with a guy like Shrien Diwani for wanting to escape South African justice...

      Martino - 2012-01-12 16:04

      "committing a crime in their country" - like blasphemy? Or apostacy?

      Ebon - 2012-01-12 17:15

      @Martino: When in Rome... This is not a new principle. In Saudi Arabia those acts, ridiculous as it might seem to you or I, are considered crimes. A visitor to their country should respect that, or avoid visiting the country. If and when the (majority of) Saudi people feel sufficiently strongly about the issue to change those archaic laws, then I believe it would appropriate to start passing judgement. It is their fundamental right as human beings to choose how they want to run their country, not ours. I am sure there are many people who are absolutely horrified that most South Africans are happy to see rhino poachers shot dead. And frankly if they want to criticise us for valuing the life of a few "dumb animals" over certain human beings, my answer is simple: It's OUR country, OUR rhinos, OUR choice. Don't like it? Go somewhere else. If foreigners want to come here and buy drugs, and then get caught and sent to jail, I would have no sympathy for their arguments that it is legal in the Netherlands. Again: It's our country: Don't like it? Go somewhere else. If you want to come into my house and light up a cigarette, I will throw a bucket of water on you. My home, my rules. Don't like it? Go somewhere else.

  • delahvonne - 2012-01-12 13:45

    WOW!!! It must have hurt............down under LOL

  • rickvcooper - 2012-01-12 13:51


  • eric.vanvuuren - 2012-01-12 14:04

    Religion is so unnecessary.

      Garth - 2012-01-12 14:25

      Agree - freedom of speech is available to so very few. But he has to be a very, very dim spark to insult the paedophile prophet, of the least tolerant religion, in a country that is home to the least tolerant people.

  • zaakiro - 2012-01-12 14:29

    Saudi rule has resulted in the Country having the lowest crime-rate, Saudi rule has ensured lesser domestic violence, divorce and tons of other known violence we see in every other non-islamic country. Islamic Law provides a balance for the victim an perpetrator, like in South Africa, most criminals would get away with killing an innocent child, or raping an elderly women in Saudi these crimes are rarely heard of. Like how in South Africa that theft, security is a major major issue, in Saudi those who dare to steal are dealt with immediately, which means if you have you house door open at 3 in the morning, no man or women will dare to enter. Typical example, at the call to prayer...all business stops, a shop keeper can leave his doors open an go to prayer, knowing full well that when he return, not a single item will be missing, and i should add in that very city of Medina, gold shops are left unattended during prayers. The immoralities we see in our society whether it be South Africa, Australia or anywhere in the West, is very marginal in Arab states. Saudi Arabia might have wealth in abundance, oil in abundance but religion has always been the fore stone of the Governance. Respect in society, respect in business, and most importantly respect to Women is seen everywhere. While women might not have the freedom like many of you or your wives in South Africa, they have are respected to the highest degree. If only SA would have such control, we would be at peace..

      Blade - 2012-01-12 14:35

      Just a pity about the women part though hey?

      Richard - 2012-01-12 15:10

      One man with an understanding and brains

      Martino - 2012-01-12 16:02

      Zaakirinho, this is about blasphemy, something you avoided in your comment. How is blasphemy by any means comparable to the crimes you mentioned? Why should a human being be punished by other human beings for blaspheming against a god? One more thing, what do you have to say about apostacy? Is it a crime?

      Ebon - 2012-01-12 16:57

      Martino: The fact that you or I, or anyone else in any country other than Saudi Arabia believes that it is ridiculous to consider blasphemy or apostasy as crimes is *irrelevant*. It's not your country. When you enter my home, I expect you to respect my values and rules, regardless of how ridiculous you may believe them to be. Your alternative is to not enter my home. It really is a very simple principle. In short: I don't believe either blasphemy or apostasy should be considered crimes. But I believe that as a guest in a foreign country, the perpetrator should have respected those laws and held his tongue in check.

      Jaba - 2012-01-13 06:42

      Ebon, "When you enter my home, I expect you to respect my values and rules, regardless of how ridiculous you may believe them to be" Well, South Africa is my home, News24 is my South African news site… and I can rant all I want as to how pathetic I think the culture in the Middle East is… I deplore their racism against other minorities (Christians, Hindus, Jews & Buddhist), their mistreatment of women or their stoning of gays etc etc. And you are correct – I will never go there, cause their racism makes me sick.

  • PaasHaas - 2012-01-12 14:30

    We are a funny lot. We spend hours here calling for Kotze to be tortured and killed; we cant wait to cheer the next fatality of a rhino poacher at the hands of the security forces; we cant wait to hear about the next drug mule being arrested in some foreign land; yet when someone (a Muslim on pilgrimage which he undertook voluntarily) is found guilty of blasphemy in the country he chose to vist, we squeal hysterically and blame his hosts.

      Smell - 2012-01-12 15:12

      You may think it is funny. Almaribe did not murder, butcher, torture, rape, or sodomize anybody. Almaribe did not kill and maim magnificent wild animals of an endangered animal specie just to sell a body part to ignorant, impotent men. Almaribe did not smuggle mind and life destroying drugs into a country. If you cannot differentiate between expressing an opinion (a human right) and horrible acts of violence, the joke is on you. Ditto for cracking a joke versus smuggling drugs. The crime rates in the middle East are generally quite low, but at a considerable price. That is why young professionals from the Third World preferably head to the West and the East, giving the Middle East a wide birth.

      Martino - 2012-01-12 16:06

      Blasphemy? Can it be considered a crime against humanity? And what about apostacy? Did you know that even apostacy is punishable in Islamic states like Saudi, Iran, etc.?

      Smell - 2012-01-12 16:24

      For those of you not familiar with the term "apostasy". In many/most Islamic countries changing your religion from Islam to Christianity or any other religion is punishable by death. Again, Paashaas, I do not see the funnies here.

      Ebon - 2012-01-12 17:22

      @Smell: The term "funny" has multiple meanings in the English language. In this context it is pretty clearly meant to be interpreted as "strange, odd, crazy, or absurd" as opposed to the other meaning of "amusing". English is a funny language that way...

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