'My dad won't survive the lashings'

Dec 09, 2011, 08:23 IST | Agencies
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 all he said was that they had charged him for something he had 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 check-ups. He has knee injuries and back injuries from a car accident and he also has diabetes and high blood pressure."

"When we found out what happened, it was the worst thing I ever pictured," Almaribe said.

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