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Saudi sex braggart gets 5 years, 1,000 lashes

  • Story Highlights
  • Mazen Abdul Jawad, divorced father of 4, spoke openly about sex escapades
  • Saudi authorities shut down LBC offices in Jeddah and Riyadh over broadcast
  • Episode caused an uproar in deeply conservative Saudi Arabia
By Mohammed Jamjoom and Octavia Nasr
CNN
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(CNN) -- A Saudi court on Wednesday sentenced a man who caused uproar by bragging about his sex life on television to five years in prison and 1,000 lashes, according to Ministry of Information officials.

Pre-marital sex is illegal in Saudi Arabia, and unrelated 
men and women are not permitted to mingle.

Mazen Abdul Jawad talked openly about his sex life on the controversial show.

Mazen Abdul Jawad, a 32-year-old airline employee and divorced father of four, spoke openly about his sexual escapades, his love of sex and losing his virginity at age 14. He made the comments on Lebanese Broadcasting Corporation, which aired the interview a few months ago.

Saudi authorities shut down LBC offices in Jeddah and Riyadh after airing the interview on an episode of its popular show "A Thick Red Line." Jawad was arrested shortly after the program aired and charged with violating Saudi Arabia's crime of publicizing vice.

On the program, Jawad is also shown in his bedroom, where he holds sexual aids up to the camera.

The room is decorated with Mickey Mouse and stuffed bears in sexually suggestive positions. The cameras gave audiences a glimpse of the room's nightclub-like chandeliers mixed with seafood-shaped wall sconces, perfume bottles and a book in Arabic, "101 Questions About Sex," that Jawad calls his "reference."

Jawad, wearing a red shirt, explained that he put his phone number and details about his car -- a red Mini Cooper -- on his mobile phone's Bluetooth. He says women usually call him to ask if the car is for sale but, he boasts, "some go out with me that same night."

The episode ended with him cruising the streets of Jeddah in his car looking for women.

The show that aired Jawad's story is as popular as it is controversial in the Middle East. It tackles taboos sometimes never discussed in public.

In one instance, a guest admitted he put up his children for sale and tried to justify why he continued to look for the highest bidder even though his kids were begging him to change his mind.

Most guests wear sunglasses, wigs and strange clothing to disguise their identities as their lives can be endangered for talking about such taboo subjects.

Surprisingly, Jawad did not disguise his identity on the program. Video Watch report on the uproar over the broadcast »

The episode caused an uproar in deeply conservative Saudi Arabia, where sharia, or Islamic law, is practiced. Pre-marital sex is illegal, and unrelated men and women are not permitted to mingle.

The segment in question has been posted on the video-sharing site YouTube since its initial broadcast last month, and has been viewed hundreds of thousands of times.

Speaking about promiscuous acts "is a violation of the sharia regulations on the one hand and against Saudi customs on the other," police spokesman Suleiman Al-Mutawae told Arab News, an English-language daily newspaper in Saudi Arabia.

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Before Jawad's detention, Arab News reported that he initiated a damage-control campaign, apologized for his comments and was considering filing a complaint against the show's producers for presenting him "in the worst possible manner by taking two hours of footage and condensing it down to a minutes-long segment."

Jawad's lawyer could not be reached for comment. The ministry officials spoke to CNN on the condition of anonymity.

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