Karl Andree, a 74-year-old British national with his own storage of homemade wine, has become the subject of incredible tensions between the UK and Saudi Arabia, where Andree has lived for the last 25 years.
For the last year, Andree has been imprisoned for violating the Saudi government’s extremely strict ban on alcohol after being caught with bottles of homemade wine in his car.
Andree, a three-time cancer survivor and a grandfather, has now been sentenced to receive 350 lashes (some reports say 360),a punishment which his family contends could be deadly.
The sale and possession of alcohol is forbidden in Saudi Arabia, a Muslim country which follows Islamic laws to the letter.
However, as historically been the case with prohibition, a secretive subculture of home-brewing and imbibing has flourished in conjunction with the country’s strict moral ban on alcohol, particularly with expats who are accustomed to cultures permissive of alcohol. Even some Muslims have admitted to drinking behind closed doors.
In a statement, Andree’s daughter Kirsten Piroth told BBC News that she was certain her father “would not survive” his punishment, and expressed frustration with the lack of intervention from the British government.
“I don't really understand why it’s taking so long because it's my understanding in that system that it needs... a phone call to the right person and he could be released,” Piroth said.
Prime Minister David Cameron is expected to write to the Saudi government on Andree’s behalf, according to Downing Street, Cameron’s office.