Mansor Almaribe, 45, has been unable to obtain legal representation since he was arrested in the southern city of Medina on November 14 for alleged religious offences Daniel Flitton – theageGRAVE fears are held for the health of a Shepparton man and father of five incarcerated for more than a fortnight in a Saudi Arabia prison under the country’s draconian religious blasphemy laws. Mansor Almaribe, 45, has been unable to obtain legal representation since he was arrested in the southern city of Medina on November 14 for alleged religious offences. His family in Australia hold great concern for his health, as he suffers from diabetes and heart disease. Mr Almaribe, a Shiite Muslim, had travelled to Saudi Arabia to make the Haj pilgrimage when he ran afoul of religious police and was accused of insulting companions of the prophet Muhammad. He has been permitted only one brief conversation with his family since the incarceration, borrowing the mobile phone of an Australian diplomat during two-hour consular visit on November 23. Mr Almaribe’s eldest son, Jamal, told The Age last night a witness at the time of the arrest said a group had been praying and reading when the police accosted them and arrested his father. Shiite Muslims are routinely discriminated against in the majority Sunni nation, sites of the two holy cities of Islam, Mecca and Medina. ”I’m so worried about my dad’s health, he’s in a bad, bad situation,” Jamal Almaribe said. Jamal said his father fled by boat to Australia from Iraq in 1999. He later became an Australian citizen. Efforts to engage Saudi lawyers have been unsuccessful because the family cannot afford a $US5000 fee demanded to begin work on Mr Almaribe’s case. The family has contacted local federal MP Sharman Stone for help dealing with the Foreign Affairs Department in Canberra. Under Saudi law, only Muslims can enter Medina, complicating efforts by Australian officials to contact Mr Almaribe from the embassy in Riyadh, 900 kilometres away. Local police have not always answered telephone calls and efforts to fax his medical records to authorities have so far been unsuccessful. An embassy official is expected to seek to deliver the records to the police by hand today (Saudi time) and visit Mr Almaribe. Australian officials have been told an investigation into his case might not be finished until December 21, leaving him languishing in prison.