RIYADH: The Saudi man sentenced to five years in prison for boasting on Lebanese television about his sex life appealed his case on Saturday, claiming errors and biased treatment in the original trial, his lawyer said. Airline sales clerk Mazen Abdel-Jawad’s case was marred by “more than 32” procedural errors, lawyer Suleiman al-Jimaie said in a statement.
Jimaie also said his client was unfairly treated because the cases against journalists involved in the same program were moved from the Jeddah criminal court to a special panel on journalistic malpractice at the Information and Culture Ninistry.
“How can parts of the same case be handled by two different courts,” he asked.
Abdel-Jawad was convicted on October 7 of offensive behavior under Saudi Arabia’s harsh version of Islamic shariah law for his appearance on the satellite television show “Bold Red Line,” in which he talked about picking up girls, having sex with them and using sex aids.
He was sentenced to five years in jail and 1,000 lashes. Three friends who appeared on the show got two-year prison terms and 300 lashes each.
The program, produced and broadcast in July by the Saudi-controlled, Beirut-based Lebanese Broadcasting Corp (LBC), outraged Saudi conservatives who pressed authorities to take action against Abdul Jawad and others involved.
After the intervention of Saudi King Abdullah, the charges against two female journalists and a cameraman working with LBC were dropped and the cases referred to the Information Ministry panel.
Jimaie also objected to the owners and managers of LBC not having been charged despite their responsibility for the program.
LBC’s controlling shareholder is billionaire Saudi Prince Alwaleed bin Talal. Neither he nor LBC executives have commented on the case.
Saudi authorities have shut the company’s two offices in Saudi Arabia – one of its key markets – but have not blocked its satellite broadcasts into the kingdom. – AFP