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Opinions of Thursday, 15 October 2015

Columnist: Alhaji Alhasan Abdulai

Educate people against alcohol and drugs in Saudi Arabia to avoid lashes

Opinion Opinion

I know that every young man or woman the world over would be worried if their aging father who is ill is sentenced to lashes in an Arab country for possessing a homemade wine.

This is a true story in Saudi Arabia and therefore what we need to know is that all sovereign nations have laws and would do all they can to enforce them on their citizens and foreigners.

All that is needed is for all nations to educate their citizens to be aware of the dangers of violating the laws regarding possessing 'weed', alcohol and hard drugs like cocaine and heroin, especially in the middle and far eastern nations.

As published in the guardian newspaper the man at the center of this story Karl Andre now in custody in Saudi Arabia is facing 350 lashes for possessing wine. It is our prayer that the Saudi government would listen to the plea of his children and the British government led by David Cameron to extend clemency to the British pensioner. At his age it is believed that he would turn a new leaf and not repeat the mistake he made.

The children of a British man have called on David Cameron to intervene to save their father from being subjected to 350 lashes in Saudi Arabia. Karl Andree, 74, faces being publicly flogged as part of a punishment imposed after bottles of homemade wine were reportedly found last year in his car by Saudi police enforcing strict laws prohibiting alcohol.

The family of the oil executive, who is being held at Jeddah’s Briman prison, say he is already weak as a result of cancer and fear that the flogging will kill him. They said in a statement reported by the Sun: “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.

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

The Foreign Office said, “Our embassy staffs 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.”

Andree’s three children, Hugh, 46, Kirsten, 45, and Simon, 33, are reported to have been lobbying discreetly for their father for more than a month but have now decided to go public.

The campaign by the family comes at a time when Britain’s diplomatic relationship with Saudi Arabia is under new scrutiny. The Labor leader, Jeremy Corbyn, last month used his keynote speech at his party’s annual conference to call on the prime minister to secure the release of a Saudi protestor, Ali Mohammed al-Nimr, who has been condemned to execution. Al-Nimr was arrested in 2012 for reportedly being involved in Arab spring protests in Qatif, in the country’s eastern province.

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