A Saudi court has sentenced a man to five years in jail and 1,000 lashes for boasting about his sexual exploits on television, in a case that has divided public opinion in the conservative Islamic kingdom.
Abdul-Jawad, a divorced father of four, was arrested in August after discussing his premarital sexual encounters, showing off his pick-up techniques and displaying some sex toys and lubricants on a Lebanese TV program.
His comments caused a public outcry in Saudi Arabia, where the religious elite has vast powers over society and religious police enforce the segregation of men and women in public.
King Abdullah has begun to reform education and the judiciary in recent years, partly to discourage Islamic militancy. But he faces resistance from clerics and conservative princes and analysts say the case gives fresh momentum to some clerics’ calls for strict curbs on social freedoms. More…