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02 March 2024

Australian sentenced to 500 lashes in Saudi


An Australian man has been sentenced to 500 lashes and a year in jail by a Saudi Arabian court after being found guilty of blasphemy, Canberra said on Wednesday.

Reports said 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 (PBUH).

Australia's Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade said he was sentenced on Tuesday and Canberra's ambassador in Saudi Arabia had been in touch with authorities to plead for leniency.

"The Australian ambassador has been in touch with Saudi authorities after a 45-year-old Australian man was sentenced by a court in Saudi Arabia to one year in jail and 500 lashes," a DFAT spokeswoman said.

A consular official attended the sentencing, where Almaribe was initially slapped with a two-year jail term which was subsequently reduced, the spokeswoman added.

The Melbourne Age has previously said the father-of-five, who could not afford a lawyer, suffers from diabetes and heart disease, with grave fears for his health.

His eldest son, Jamal, told the newspaper this week that his father had been reading and praying in a group when accosted by religious police and arrested.

Boy killed by sand dunes while asleep

A 13-year-old Saudi boy was killed when sand dunes collapsed while asleep inside his tin-made room in the Gulf Kingdom, a newspaper said on Wednesday.

Civil defence men pulled the dead body out of the sand-covered room built near massive desert sand dunes in the northwestern town of Tabuk, Sabq said.

“The boy was asleep in his room at night when the sand dunes collapsed and covered his little house,” it said without giving further details.

Restaurant caught selling leftovers

Saudi authorities briefly shut down a restaurant and fined it SR2,000 ($533) after it was caught selling food left behind by other customers at a nearby restaurant, a newspaper in the Gulf Kingdom reported on Wednesday.

A Saudi man who ordered a meal from the restaurant in the central town of Mudannab noticed the food was not cooked at that restaurant.

“He reported the incident to health authorities, who immediately sent inspectors to that restaurant,” the Arabic language daily Alwatan said.

“The inspectors discovered that the restaurant sells leftovers brought from a nearby restaurant…they shut the restaurant for one day and fined it SR2000.”

Woman with a taste for old men

Saudi Arabia’s religious police arrested a 20-year-old woman and an old man for committing adultery at an apartment in the Gulf Kingdom.

The woman, who is married to a man over 70 years old, confessed to members of the Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice that she had dated the 60-year-old man many times.

“When they were arrested, the man begged the police to let him considering his old age,” Sabq newspaper said in a report from the capital Riyadh.

Man who rented cars to women found drunk

Saudi Arabia’s feared religious police arrested a man after they found that he was drunk when he rented a car to women caught driving in the capital.

Members of the commission for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice seized the women in the car in Riyadh and found that the vehicle was rented from a local office, Sabq daily said on Monday.

“They went to the office and tried to advise the man not to rent cars to women….but they found that he was drunk and had a liquor bottle with him…they arrested him,” it said.

Couple seized meeting in Saudi desert

A Saudi teen age boy and his girl friend thought of a novel way to date each other away from the eyes of the feared religious police so they thought of the lifeless desert. But the couple, both 18, had apparently not given any thought to the camel shepherd who appeared not bothered by them.

On the third day of their intimate meeting, the couple had their first visitors—members of the Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice.

“The Commission members were informed about the meetings by the shepherd…they arrested the two for illegitimate meetings,” Sabq daily said.

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