A 32-year-old Saudi man could face court for debauchery, premarital sex and for breaking the Islamic code after he was interviewed by a Lebanese channel about his sex life.

If found guilty, divorced father of four Mazen Abdul Jawad will face either 20 years in jail or between 13,000 and 20,000 strikes by horsewhip. It was his revelations on the Lebanese talkshow, "The Red Line" that have left the airline employee facing prosecution. Aired on July 15 on Lebanese channel LBC, his declarations about foreplay, sex toys and frigidity left the conservative Saudi population quite frankly stunned.

Around 100 of the most outraged of these people filed complaints about his actions to the court in Jeddah. Many also contacted his employer, Saudi Arabian Airlines, demanding that he be sacked.

In an interview with daily newspaper Okaz on Saturday, Abdul Jawad begged for forgiveness of the Saudi people, and blamed the incident on the channel. It was them, he said, that supplied the sex toys, and then aired the programme without blurring his face. LBC refutes the allegations, but itself has become a target for the conservatives, who call for it to be banned in the kingdom.  

The infamous interview

Translation and subtitles by FRANCE 24.

“People here think that you can do whatever you want as long as you keep it private”

Ahmed Al-Omran is a Saudi blogger from Riyadh.

In a conservative society like Saudi Arabia, this guy should have expected to get aggressive reactions when talking publicly about his sex life. People here are not used to such declarations. They were in shock and did not understand why he did it since he must have known the consequences. Many consider him stupid - some even said that he should be sued for stupidity rather than debauchery! Others believe that he was tricked by the LBC into saying things and that the show is into sensationalising news and does not have a good reputation in the KSA (Kingdom of Saudi Arabia). Besides, Saudis do get defensive when outsiders criticise their society.

I was surprised that so many people acted on it and submitted complaints. Legally, I guess that their complaints do not stand in court. But if the public prosecutor decides to sue him, then it's a different story.

People here think that you can do whatever you want as long as you keep it private. This is hypocritical but it is prevalent in Saudi society. However, the country is changing and mentalities are too. The pace of change is slow and many, like me, are frustrated to see things evolving so slowly on the social and political levels but I think it's not hopeless, and I hope that in 40 years we won't be struggling with the same issues."