A British man living in Saudi Arabia faces a penalty of 350 lashes after being caught with bottles of homemade wine in his car by police, Metro reports.
Karl Andree, 74, is a grandfather of seven and has lived in the Middle East for the last 25 years, working in the oil industry. He has been held in Jeddah's Briman prison since August 2014, when the bottles were discovered, and faces a penalty of 350 lashes in a public flogging at the end of his prison sentence.
His family has warned that he will not survive the physical ordeal. Karl's son, Simon, said in a statement to The Sun that Karl has had cancer three times as well as asthma. Karl's wife, Verity, is dying in the U.K. from complications from Alzheimer's.
“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,” said Simon.
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The family has asked British Prime Minister David Cameron to personally intervene to secure his release, saying that he is the only one the Saudi government will listen to.
The U.K. Foreign Office has stated it has conducted frequent visits to check on Karl's welfare, and that it was actively seeking his release from prison as soon as possible, according to The Guardian.
Saudi Arabia is one of the U.K.'s key allies in the Middle East, but lately Britain's diplomatic relationship with the country has come under increased scrutiny. Critics point to the country's draconian laws and poor human rights record, and Karl's case is likely to increase this criticism further.
Another pointed criticism of Saudi policy came in September's keynote speech at conference for the U.K's Labour Party by party leader Jeremy Corbyn, who called on the Saudi government to release Saudi protestor Ali Mohammed al-Nimr. Al-Nimr was arrested in 2012 when he was 17 years old for taking part in protests in the country's eastern province. He has been sentenced to death by crucifixion.