A Sydney grandfather jailed alongside murderers and given the lash after being caught with home brewed alcohol in Saudi Arabia has now been told he cannot leave the country.
Peter Mutty, 57, from Rosebery in Sydney’s inner south, has now been forced to sell his home to cover costs while he remains trapped in limbo in the Gulf state unable to work.
“The Australian Embassy has been absolutely no help and did not even come to see me until I had been in jail for five weeks,” Mr Mutty said yesterday.
Mr Mutty was working in Al Khobar, four hours outside the capital Riyadh, when he was caught with two cartons of home brewed light beer and two cases of homemade red and white wine in his car.
“I knew it was wrong and I made no attempt to hide the fact I was guilty,” said Mr Mutty, who has daughters and grandchildren in Canberra and Adelaide.
Other expats who have been caught with alcohol have been expelled from Saudi Arabia within 48 hours, but Mr Mutty received six months in the notorious Thuqba prison.
“It was terrible, it was everything you imagine it would be. I was held with rapists, murderers and killers,” Mr Mutty said.
Despite reassurance from Australian Embassy officials he would not receive the lash, the engineering company manager was stood against a wall and given 28 strokes of the cane before being released on March 19 this year.
“But because my case has not been finalised I am trapped in Saudi Arabia. I cannot work and I cannot leave,” Mr Mutty said.
“I am trapped in limbo and have not earned a brass razoo in six months. We have had to make some pretty rapid decisions and sell one of our two properties to pay the bills,” he said.
He visited the Australian Embassy in Riyadh yesterday in a bid to get his case expedited. The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade is understood to be providing consular assistance to an Australian in Saudi Arabia but it could make no official comment on the case.
The last Australian known to receive the lash in Saudi Arabia was Victorian man Mansor Almaribe, who received 75 lashes for blasphemy in 2012 before being released from prison and flown home to Australia with a royal pardon.
A spokeswoman for human rights group Amnesty International said floggings and amputations were common in the Saudi justice system. But the organisation could offer little support to people caught up in the system.