LONDON, Oct. 13 (UPI) — British Prime Minister David Cameron‘s office said Tuesday he would intercede to help a British citizen imprisoned, and facing 360 lashings, in Saudi Arabia.
Cameron will write a personal appeal to the Saudi government to spare Karl Andree, 74, a retired oil executive who has resided in Saudi Arabia for 25 years. Andree was caught in the port city of Jidda last year with homemade wine in his car; alcohol possession is forbidden in the country. He has spent a year in jail, and is expected to face lashings as a penalty.
“He’s had cancer three times,” his son, Simon Andree, said of his father. “He suffers from severe asthma. He’s an old, frail man, and I just fear that this lashing sentence is a death sentence for him.”
Andree’s family has asked the British Foreign Office for its involvement, and Cameron will make a personal appeal for his release, his office said, adding the matter has been brought up “several times’ to the Saudi government.
The incident comes as Britain reviews its relations with Saudi Arabia. Tuesday the Justice Ministry announced it would not proceed with a proposed contract, worth 5.9 million pounds (about $9 million) to train Saudi prison staff. Justice Secretary Michael Grove has expressed reservations about aiding a country, Saudi Arabia, whose punishment methods include beheadings, lashings and executions. The official British government stance is that there is no connection between Andree’s case and the failure to continue the contract.
The Saudi legal code is based on ultraconservative Wahhabi adherence to Islamic law.