David Cameron the Prime Minister of Britain will personally appeal to the government of Saudi Arabia in an attempt to secure the freedom of a former oil executive who is 74 and a grandfather and facing a minimum of 350 lashes after he was caught in 2014 with alcohol that was homemade, said British officials Tuesday.
The man’s family said it fears he would be killed by the punishment.
Karl Andree, the former oil executive, who has been living in Saudi Arabia for more than 25 years and who on several occasions has been told that he had cancer, has served the past year in jail as part of his punishment.
According to reports, he was detained then arrested in Jidda a port city in August of 2014 after authorities found alcohol inside his car.
Alcohol is prohibited in Saudi Arabia, where the legal code is based upon a strict interpretation by Wahhabi of Islamic Law.
Family members of Andree have pleaded with Britain to help and on Tuesday the country’s Foreign Office announced that senior officials and ministers raised the case with the government of Saudi Arabia.
After a statement was released saying the government was actively seeking the release of Andree, officials announced that Prime Minister Cameron would also request his release by letter.
Simon Andree, a son of Mr. Andree, said that he feared that his father does not have the strength to survive 350 lashes.
He said his father has been diagnosed with cancer three times, has severe asthma and is old and frail.
His daughter Kirsten Piroth said that her family members abandoned earlier assumptions that Andree would be spared lashings because of his health and age.
In London, the Saudi embassy was unavailable for comments, although earlier the kingdom defended its system of justice, saying it conforms to Islamic law as well as being applied equitably.
The judicial system of Saudi Arabia has been a subject of much criticism from groups promoting human rights of holding trails that are unfair.