this is how saudi arabia treats aussies, bomb 'em

  1. 115 Posts.
    Flogging of Aussie inhumane: PM

    SAUDI Arabia's treatment of a jailed Australian man subject to public floggings has been branded "appallingly inhumane" by the Prime Minister.

    Robert Thomas, 55, a long-term resident of Saudi Arabia, was arrested in June last year and jailed for a theft committed by his Filipino nurse wife, who was caught stealing hospital equipment for her own country.

    Under Saudi Arabia's strict system of Sharia law, the anaesthetic technician was found guilty of association with the crime.

    He was sentenced to 16 months' jail and 300 lashings.

    That sentence is being carried out in fortnightly blocks, with Mr Thomas being beaten 50 times every two weeks with a cane.

    PM John Howard today said he had made inquiries as to what protests Australian authorities had lodged in Saudi Arabia.

    "I heard about this this morning and I've initiated some inquiries as to what level of protest is being made," he told Sydney radio station 2UE.

    "I have to say on the face of it, and I don't know all the circumstances, it seems appallingly inhumane to me."

    Mr Howard said the man's guilt was by association because of his wife's alleged behaviour.

    "I think that is quite appalling.

    "I know that we have to accept that if we go to another country, we are subject to the laws of that country.

    "But it does seem to be to me a cruelly disproportionate punishment according to the values and understandings of Australia and I'm sure many other people."

    Mr Howard said he would further discuss the matter with Foreign Minister Alexander Downer and he understood a view had already been put to Saudi authorities.

    He said he shared the anguish of Mr Thomas' family.

    "I share their anger and pain on something like this, it does seem cruelly disproportionate."

    Mr Thomas' daughter Sarah Munro said she believed her father was being punished because of the current crisis over Iraq.

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