December 8th, 2011
04:44 AM ET

Family is puzzled by man's arrest, sentencing in Saudi Arabia

The family of an Australian man, convicted of blasphemy by a Saudi Arabian court, wonders what it is he could have said that earned him a sentence of 500 lashes and a year in prison.

Mansor Almaribe's son said the pair only had a 90-second phone conversation since his arrest last month.

"He could not speak freely because authorities were around him but he said the charges are very stupid and 'They charged me for something I have not done," his son, Issam, said.

Almaribe was found guilty of blasphemy after he was arrested last month in Medina while on a pilgrimage, Australian officials said.

It's unclear what the 45-year-old Shia Muslim from Victoria state said or did to get arrested.

"I don't think my dad would even survive 50 lashes not 500," the son said. "He goes to the doctor every week for checks ups. He has knee injuries and back injuries from a car accident and he also has diabetes and high blood pressure."

The family spent weeks searching for the Iraqi born father of five after he went missing in early November while performing the Hajj pilgrimage in Saudi Arabia.

"When we found out what happened, it was the worst thing I ever pictured in my life," Almaribe said. "My mother cried the whole night and my baby brother cried because he saw my mom crying. It was the worst night ever imaginable."

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Filed under: Saudi Arabia • U.S. • World
soundoff (14 Responses)
  1. Joey Isotta-Fraschini

    It is enlightening to view this religion and its sanctioned punishments in this example.
    Do you know what year this is?

    December 8, 2011 at 6:44 am | Report abuse |
  2. leeintulsa

    That's what happens with state-mandated religion.

    December 8, 2011 at 6:58 am | Report abuse |
  3. banasy©

    He was even on a pilgrimage, which means it *is* his religion...
    I agree with JIF's post.

    December 8, 2011 at 7:17 am | Report abuse |
    • leeintulsa

      He must have been praising the gourd in a sandal crowd..

      December 8, 2011 at 7:23 am | Report abuse |
    • leeintulsa

      Or he got caught up in the 'it's a sandal'/'no, it's a shoe' debate..

      December 8, 2011 at 7:26 am | Report abuse |
  4. nonnnnnnnnn

    This is nothing more than a contrived "hostage" situation. And considering that it's SA, money isn't the issue. They want something from Australia or someone who could be manipulated using this scenario. I'm guessing of course.

    December 8, 2011 at 8:17 am | Report abuse |
    • Norihiro

      I laugh everytime a beairll goes completely off the rails when a reporter who actually does a very good job covering the news, since that's what their job is, not a talking point, all of a sudden if they're moving to Foxnews, they're right wingers and are given talking points from Ailes .Atleast on FOXNEWS, you get both equal sides of the story, debate and not a talking point position like you get from others MSNBC anyone, the organization that has a open line for talking points from this administration and has very little to NO other side of the spectrum..

      April 22, 2012 at 5:24 pm | Report abuse |
  5. BOMBO

    As a christian, blasphemy annoys me, but human enforcement of blasphemy laws make no sense. Don't these people think God can take care of his own battles? Isn't it blasphemy to think that God needs human intervention to mete out punishment on his behalf?

    December 8, 2011 at 10:55 am | Report abuse |
  6. F1

    Dear nicole look at # 7 of this blog its ridiculous, this is the problem i had when i first started bloging 3 weeks ago, this person is disgusting please ban this individual,thank you

    December 8, 2011 at 11:28 am | Report abuse |
  7. chrissy

    WHAT was so disgusting about #7s post? And you cant just decide willy nilly what someone can or cannot post if there are no derogatory remarks made to or about another individual! And since you chose not to show yourself by posting as Fl looks foolish!

    December 8, 2011 at 2:49 pm | Report abuse |
  8. BOMBO

    F1 was referring to something else that has since been deleted.

    December 8, 2011 at 3:23 pm | Report abuse |
  9. chrissy

    oh ok my sincere apology Fl, i only saw BOMBOS post and he is one of the few stand up guys in here. Please forgive me.

    December 8, 2011 at 5:15 pm | Report abuse |
  10. BOMBO

    Thank you Chrissy. Right back at you. Except the guy part.

    December 8, 2011 at 11:33 pm | Report abuse |
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    August 16, 2012 at 9:51 pm | Report abuse |