Human rights campaigners voiced their outrage last night after a court in Saudi Arabia sentenced a British man to 1000 days in a luxurious spa and wellness centre, despite being aware that he is a confirmed masochist with a penchant for pain and humiliation at the extreme end of the masochistic spectrum.
Mr Toby Dell, 56, a market trader from Whitechapel in East London, but now living and working in the Saudi capital, Riyadh, was arrested in March this year after being found drunk in the street with a bottle of Scotch whisky in his hand; a crime which normally carries a sentence of imprisonment, often combined with a number of strokes administered with a cane, known as ‘lashes’.
It is understood that the court was made aware of Mr Dell’s predilection for acute pain and extreme discomfort and that the presiding judge took this into consideration when passing sentence.
Dell, unmarried, was given 1000 days in an exclusive health spa where he will be given daily massages, rejuvenating facials, saunas, and gently restorative aromatherapy, along with relaxing weekly sessions in a flotation tank.
Mr Dell, broke down and wept as sentence was passed and a number of family members in the public gallery cried out in protest as he was gently carried from the dock in a quilted sedan chair to begin his sentence by two burly Thai masseurs.
His lawyer said last night that there would be an appeal and that his client is hoping that, in the meantime, the court will at least grant his request to be beaten vigorously with birch twigs and violently pummelled by a 20-stone masseur after each session in the sauna.