A Muslim man accused of whipping his protegee 40 times with an electric cable for drinking alcohol said he inflicted the punishment out of love, a Sydney court has been told.
Wassim Fayad allegedly told his victim Cristian Martinez, “Next time you think of picking up a drink, you will remember this pain,” Burwood Local Court was told on Monday.
Fayad, 44, Zakaryah Raad, 21, Tolga Cifci, 21, and Cengiz Coskun, 22, have pleaded not guilty over the alleged incident in Mr Martinez’s Silverwater apartment in western Sydney between July 16 and July 17 last year.
They have been charged with assault occasioning actual bodily harm in company and stealing CCTV footage.
Mr Martinez, 32, had been introduced to the Islamic faith several years before and had come to regard Fayad, also known as Fadi Alemaddin, as his spiritual leader, prosecutor Sevinch Morkaya said.
After Mr Martinez got drunk and took cocaine, he called Fayad, telling him, “I’m in trouble” and “I need to get off the drugs”.
In one of several phone calls played in court, Fayad could be heard replying, “It means I’m going to tie you up, brother, because that’s what you need.”
Mr Martinez told the court he had no memory of the phone calls.
That night, Raad called around to Mr Martinez’s apartment and later let the other three men in before they woke up a sleeping Mr Martinez, the court heard.
Mr Martinez said he was friends with Raad, but he had only seen the other two men on a couple of occasions and didn’t know their names.
“(Fayad) told me I was going to be punished under Islamic law for what I’d been doing with drugs and alcohol,” Mr Martinez said.
“I was a bit stirred up but I always believed in him.”
Mr Martinez said Raad and the other two men then held him down on the bed while Fayad started hitting him with an electric cable.
“I was begging, ‘please no more, I don’t want any more’,” he said.
After the first ten lashes, the men let Mr Martinez go and he vomited while they held a wet towel on his back before he agreed to return to the bed, the court heard.
“They didn’t force me,” he said.
However, Mr Martinez said he soon began begging and crying again and, after he vomited following the 20th lash, he was forced back onto the bed.
“I knew I had done the wrong thing, but I couldn’t believe I was getting these hits,” he said.
Mr Martinez said he was told he should be getting 80 lashes for intoxication and that only the infirm were given 40 lashes.
After it was over, the court heard Fayad told Mr Martinez, “I did it because I love you”.
“I couldn’t believe it,” Mr Martinez said. “I was so angry. I was furious.”
The court heard Mr Martinez initially only identified Fayad to police.
He later naming Raad as one of his attackers after Raad called him up and told him there were “powerful people in Auburn”.
“I took that as a threat,” Mr Martinez said.
Magistrate Brian Maloney was told the evidence against Cifci and Coskun was circumstantial, and issues would be raised in relation to Mr Martinez’s identification of them.