WHEN Australian Christian Martinez, 32, lost his marbles and embraced Islam, he didn’t bargain on getting a bloody good hiding for contravening sharia law.
After taking drugs and booze, Martinez was set upon by four Muslims and whipped with an electric cord at his home in Silverwater in Sydney in 2011.
The four – Wasim Fayed, 44, Zakaryah Raad, 21, Tolga Cifki, 21, and Gengiz Coskin, 22 – were subsequently arrested and this week were convicted of assault and theft at a trial believed to be the first in an Australian court relating to such punishment being meted out under sharia, or Islamic law.
Wasim Fayed was said to be Martinez’s “Muslim mentor”, guiding him in his new-found faith. When the convert asked for help to get off alcohol and drugs, Fayed replied:
I’m going to tie you up, OK, and that’s what you need, brother.
Fayed and the other offenders went to Mr Martinez’s home and Fayed lashed him on the back 40 times as the others held him down.
Martinez pleaded with Fayed for him to stop but Fayed replied he was doing it because he “loved him” and next time he thought about drinking he would remember the pain.
Part way through the lashing Mr Martinez said he wanted to vomit and he was allowed to go to the toilet and throw up before he was held and whipped again.
After the offenders left the premises, Martinez discovered a hard drive used to store CCTV footage in his home had been nicked, hence the theft charge.
In Burwood Local Court magistrate Brian Maloney found the offences proved. He noted that the prosecution had stated it was not a case about the Islamic faith (yeah, right!) but of the imposing of the offenders’ views of sharia.
In his judgment, Maloney referred to a statement from the imam of the Omar mosque in Auburn, Sheik Omar El Banna, who said the whipping was not sanctioned by the community or any imams or religious leaders.
The magistrate said that until now:
Assaults occasioned in the course of a religious practice involving mortification of the flesh have not been before any court in any common law country and drew a parallel with the law not allowing the consent of masochists to be a defence in charges of assault causing serious physical injury.
The four assailants will be sentenced at a later date.
Referring to Martinez, Fayed told reporters as he left the court:
I love him for the sake of Allah.
Meanwhile, it is reported here that a 15-year-old girl has been sentenced to 100 lashes and eight months house arrest for engaging in premarital sex by a juvenile court in The Maldives. She had pleaded guilty to “fornication”.
Registrar Zaima Nasheed Aboobakur said:
We have explained to her how if she wants to receive the punishment (the lashings) right now she can … or it can be postponed until she turns 18.
Amnesty International claims the same girl was the alleged victim of sexual abuse by her stepfather.
The prosecutor general told Amnesty International that it couldn’t elaborate on the circumstances of the premarital sex other than that the girl had confessed to the offence, punishable under the Islamic country’s sharia laws.
A spokesman for the President’s Office, Masood Imad said the government considered the teenager to be a victim who should not be flogged but said the government was unable to intervene in the judicial process.
We cannot just send a memo to the judiciary and say, ‘Don’t lash anybody hereafter.’ It doesn’t happen that way any more. We have to talk with them, get them to understand, get them to initiate the laws or we initiate the laws together and then pass it to the legislature.
He said the Ministry of Gender and Family was leading talks with the Ministry of Islamic Affairs to try to convince the judiciary that the law needs changing.
We have to engage with the judiciary and we’ve got to suggest to them that we need to change these laws to better identify victims and perpetrators.
Hat tip: BarrieJohn and Canada Dave (Maldives report)