The family of an Australian man jailed in Saudi Arabia appealed their father's sentence of 500 lashes for blasphemy because they say it will kill him.
Mansor Almaribe, 45, a Shiite Muslim and father of five living in Victoria, was on a Hajj pilgrimage to Medina last month when he was arrested for blasphemy while praying, the Herald Sun reported.
Saudi Arabia is a Sunni-Muslim dominated country.
After the Saudi ambassador met with an Australian government official, a lawyer was chosen for Almaribe, who had begun an appeal to defer the penalty, the Sun said.
Son Isaam Almaribe, 21, said the Australian government was assisting but the family needs officials to "speed things up -- I just want dad home as soon as possible."
He said his father was in ill health, suffering from diabetes and broken bones in his knees and back from a past car accident, The Daily Telegraph of Australia reported.
"He couldn't survive 50 lashes, let alone 500 lashes," Isaam Almaribe said.
"Dad said 'Take me out of here as soon as possible because if I stay here I will die' -- that's how bad it is. To be lashed is barbaric and it's really terrifying. Humans shouldn't be treated that way," he said.