A 74 year old British grandfather has been sentenced to 350 lashes for making wine in Saudi Arabia.
There are fears that the punishment could kill Karl Andree, who has already spent a year in a notorious prison in the strict Islamic kingdom.
Mr Andree’s 35 year old son Simon, has accused the government of putting his father’s case at the ‘bottom of the pecking order’ to protect Middle East business interests, but today the Prime Minister promised to personally intervene in the case and write to Saudi rulers to ask for clemency.
The Mail Online report:
The Prime Minister’s official spokesman said the case was ‘extremely concerning’ and revealed that the government had now cancelled a £6million contract to run prisons in the Middle East country.
Mr Andree, whose wife is dying in a home in the UK, was arrested in Jeddah last year after police found bottles of wine in his car.
He was sentenced to 12 months in prison and flogging for breaching the country’s strict anti-alcohol laws.
He has served his time in jail but is still locked up as Saudi officials wait to carry out the lashings.
Son Hugh, 46, has demanded the Prime Minister ‘guarantees’ he will take action and get his father released this week.
‘I want guarantees not assurances,’ he said.
‘It’s simple, I want his release this week and to get him home safe.
‘Do I trust the prime minister to do the right thing? Yes I do. Do I believe he has a moral compass? Yes I do.’
Hugh said his father deserved to be with his wife of 50-years, Verity, as they approached their 50th wedding anniversary.
‘We have a duty of care to look after our own people, that’s all we ask for,’ he said.
‘Dad’s a decent person. He does have a moral compass. He does believe in right and wrong and he believes he should have fulfilled his sentence as given to him by the Saudi authorities. He broke the law but he has done his time.
‘He should be with his wife of 50 years when she dies. If he is still in prison when she passes away, that will finish him off.’
Asked whether ‘political considerations’ were getting in the way of efforts in his father’s case Hugh’s brother, Simon, told the BBC’s Today Programme: ‘I think my father is at the bottom of the list, the bottom of the pecking order.
‘I feel that all the business dealings between Saudi Arabia and the UK are probably getting priority.’
He added: ‘He’s had cancer three times in the last five years and he has been there for the last 14 months. He needs to be getting regular check-ups. Maybe he’s not getting them, we just don’t know.
‘When he went to prison he was in remission but I don’t know what state he’s in at the moment.
‘They all smoke in the prison and he’s never smoked. It’s having a detrimental affect to his breathing.
‘It’s almost his 50th anniversary. He should be at home looking after his wife.’
Simon had earlier told the Sun: ‘There is no doubt in our minds that 350 lashes will kill him.