Saturday 18 November 2017

British grandfather facing 350 lashes in Saudi for making wine

Karl Andree has already served 12 months in a Saudi prison
Karl Andree has already served 12 months in a Saudi prison

Barney Henderson London

A British grandfather is facing a punishment of 350 lashes in Saudi Arabia for making home-made wine.

Karl Andree, a 74-year-old originally from south London, was arrested in August last year when police found bottles of wine in his car.

He has already served 12 months in Jeddah's brutal Briman Prison, which has a reputation for torture and inhuman conditions.

Mr Andree, who worked as an oil executive in the country, is now facing a public flogging of 350 lashes - a punishment his family fear could kill him as he is still weak from battles with cancer.

His three children Hugh (46), Kirsten (45), and Simon (33) have urged British Prime Minister David Cameron to intervene before authorities carry out the sentence.

"We implore David Cameron to personally intervene and help get our father home. The Saudi government will only listen to him," said Simon Andree.

The urgency of their appeal is increased by the fact that Mr Andree's wife, Verity, has Alzheimer's and is dying.

"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 always been happy working there and felt safe," Simon Andree said.

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

"He now needs medical care for his cancer and asthma, and there is no doubt in our mind that 350 lashes will kill him.

Mr Andree's daughter, Kirsten Piroth, said: "My dad broke the rules in a country that does not allow alcohol but he has now served his time. He was sentenced to 12 months, 14 months ago."

A Foreign Office spokesman said: "Our embassy staff are continuing to assist Mr Andree, including regular visits to check on his welfare, and frequent contact with his lawyer and family.

"Ministers and senior officials have raised Mr Andree's case with the Saudi government and we are actively seeking his release as soon as possible."

There is a strict alcohol ban in the conservative Islamic kingdom, that still widely practises capital punishment.

Saudi blogger Raif Badawi was sentenced to 1,000 lashes after being convicted of insulting Islam, and a prison sentence of 10 years.

The case attracted worldwide condemnation when he was publicly flogged in January.

Earlier this year, a report revealed Saudi Arabia is carrying out executions at a rate of one person every two days.

At least 102 people were executed in the first six months of this year compared to 90 in the whole of 2014, said Amnesty International yesterday.

Most executions in Saudi Arabia are carried out by beheading, or in some cases by firing squad. Child offenders and mentally ill prisoners are among those who have been killed. (© Daily Telegraph London)

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