74-year-old British man facing 350 lashes in Saudi Arabia

A sickly 74-year-old British grandad is facing 350 lashes at a public flogging in Saudi Arabia for having home-made wine.

Karl Andree, who has had cancer three times and is asthmatic, has been in jail more than a year.

His family in South London are now begging David Cameron to intervene personally to prevent the savage beating. 

Karl Andree (middle) sits with family members.

Karl Andree (middle) sits with family members.

Son Simon said: “There is no doubt in our minds that 350 lashes will kill him.

“He needs medical care for his cancer and asthma. 

“We implore David Cameron to personally intervene and help get our father home. The Saudi government will only listen to him.”

Daughter Kirsten added: “My dad broke the rules in a country that does not allow alcohol but he’s served his time. Dad is 74 and not a well man. I worry he won’t survive this ordeal.”

Kirsten, 45, Simon, 33, and brother Hugh, 46, are also begging for mercy on compassionate grounds — asking for Karl to be allowed home because wife Verity is dying of Alzheimer’s.

Karl, who has seven grandchildren, was arrested in Jeddah on August 25 last year after bottles of home-made wine were found in his car boot.

He was sentenced to 12 months in jail and flogging for breaching Saudi Arabia’s strict anti-alcohol laws.

He has served the jail term in one of the Islamic kingdom’s notoriously harsh prisons. But he is still locked up two months on as Saudi officials decide when to carry out the second part of the punishment.

Karl has lived in Saudi Arabia for the past 25 years, developing and managing locally-owned oil companies. Verity was with him until her worsening Alzheimer’s forced her return to Britain for full-time care.

Simon, of Clapham, South London, said: “Our father has given 25 years of his working life to Saudi Arabia and this is how he is treated. 

“Until his arrest, he has been happy working there and felt safe.

“He is 74 years of age, has had cancer three times and his wife is dying in a home in the UK.”

Kirsten added: “My six-year-old daughter worries about him every day and asks me all the time if Grandpops is out of jail yet.”

The Andree family met Foreign Office minister Tobias Ellwood last month to discuss their father’s plight. 

He promised to order Britain’s ambassador in Riyadh to take the case up with the Saudi government.

The Foreign Office yesterday said Mr Ellwood has now lobbied Saudi officials personally.

It added: “Embassy staff are continuing to assist Mr Andree, including regular visits to check on his welfare, and frequent contact with his lawyer and family. We are actively seeking his release as soon as possible.”

Saudi Arabia is Britain’s most important Middle East ally, with trade deals that go back decades.

More than 200 joint ventures between British and Saudi companies are worth £13billion. 

British defence firm BAE last year signed a deal to supply the Saudi air force with 72 Typhoon jets for £4.4billion.

Currently, 30,000 British people live and work in Saudi Arabia, ruled by King Salman.

But the close relationship has led to accusations that UK ministers turn a blind eye to the kingdom’s appalling human rights record.

Saudi Arabia’s justice system is based on Islamic sharia law and many of the punishments it inflicts are as brutal as those dealt out by IS fanatics.

Saudi law calls for execution — including beheading by sword, firing squad or even crucifixion — for rape, murder, blasphemy, treason, repeated drug use, homosexuality, witchcraft and sorcery.

A recent IS guide to law and order advocates similar punishments for those crimes.

The Saudis and IS also both call for stoning or lashes for adultery. IS insists on 80 lashes for drinking alcohol. In Saudi law the number of lashes is decided by a judge.

There are no jury trials in Saudi Arabia, with judges deciding guilt or innocence alone. They often reach verdicts by relying solely on police reports.

(source)

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