As a follow-up to my posting of December 6, 2011, "Australian, 45, Sentenced to Receive 500 Lashes, One Year in Prison for Blasphemy," Mansor Almaribe, an Australian citizen, has been released from a Saudi prison after his jail term for blasphemy was commuted and his punishment reduced from 500 lashes to 75.
Almaribe 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, yet Australian Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd's office said he had been granted a pardon from his prison sentence and is on his way home."His corporal punishment was also greatly reduced and administered in a way that did not cause physical harm," a spokeswoman for Rudd said.
COMMENT: Some reports suggest that Almaribe, from Shepparton in Victoria state, was permitted to wear a coat while he received 75 lashes. Rudd's office said they appealed for leniency to senior Saudi officials and members of the Royal Family.