Thursday, October 29, 2015

PHOTO: British grandfather, 74, sentenced to 350 lashes for brewing homemade wine in Saudi Arabia to be released

Free: Karl Andree had been sentenced to 12 months in prison and  350 lashes after being caught with home-made wine in Saudi Arabia, breaking the Gulf nation's strict alcohol laws

Briton Karl Andree, 74, who had been threatened with flogging after breaching strict alcohol laws, will be released from Saudi custody, Philip Hammond said today.

The Foreign Secretary added that the grandfather-of-seven, will be out of prison within a week and reunited with his family.

Mr Andree had been sentenced to prison and 350 lashes for brewing wine in his bath, breaking Saudi Arabia's strict alcohol laws.

Mr Andree, who has battled cancer and suffers from asthma, has lived in the......
Middle East for the last 25 years, having worked in the oil industry.

He was arrested in Jeddah in August last year after police found found bottles of his home-made bathtub wine in his car.

He was sentenced to 12 months in prison, which he has now served, but the brutal flogging was due to be carried out upon his release.

Earlier reports had suggested Saudi officials never intended for the 74-year-old to be flogged, due to his age and health, although his family questioned the delay in his release from prison.

Speaking Wednesday afternoon, his son said he is 'absolutely thrilled' to hear the news of his father's release. 

Mr Andree's children had feared he would not survive the punishment and are also urging his release on compassionate grounds because his wife Verity is dying of Alzheimer's and is in Britain receiving care.

Downing Street had previously said David Cameron has personally intervening in the grandfather-of-seven's 'extremely concerning' case.

Philip Hammond is in Saudi Arabia as part of a trip to the Middle East, amid recent disputes with the kingdom, meeting King Salman and other officials on Wednesday.

The official Saudi Press Agency said the discussion involved reviewing 'bilateral relations between the two friendly countries,' though there have been recent problems.

Among them is a decision by the British government to cancel a government contract to train Saudi prison staff.

In response, Saudi Ambassador Prince Mohammed bin Nawaf bin Abdulaziz wrote an article for the Daily Telegraph newspaper complaining about a lack of 'mutual respect' between the two countries and warned of 'potentially serious repercussions.'

The ambassador added that Saudi Arabia 'will not be lectured to by anyone.'

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