SYDNEY (Reuters) - 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 Haj 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.
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.
(Reporting by Lincoln Feast, Additional reporting by Asma; Alsharif)
Suspect in Custody After Shooting at Colorado Springs Planned Parenthood UPDATE: Three People Have Died, Shooter Identified | Christine Rousselle
We should definitely challenge Ted Cruz’s citizenship if he is elected president
- What Is Your U.S. Income Percentile Ranking?
The CMP Will Begin Selling 1911s To The Public - Bearing Arms - 1911, Video
The Myth of "4 Million Conservative Voters Stayed Home in 2012" | RedState
Colorado Springs police confirm ID of Planned Parenthood shooting suspect; Mugshot released
John Hawkins - 15 Excerpts That Show How Radical, Weird And Out of Touch College Campuses Have Become
Importing Terrorism and Other American Values | Human Events