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British Pensioner, 74, Faces 350 Lashes In Saudi Arabia For Having Homemade Wine

The revelation comes as UK government ministers row over Britain's relationship with the country.

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Today's Sun reports that a sickly 74-year-old grandfather faces 350 lashes in Saudi Arabia for having homemade wine.

British pensioner faces 360 lashes for being caught with homemade wine in Saudi Arabia http://t.co/xTh7OP25IO

The paper broke the news that Karl Andree, who is asthmatic and has had cancer three times, has been in jail for over a year, and that his family are now begging David Cameron to intervene in order to stop the punishment.

He was arrested on 25 August 2014 because bottles of homemade wine were found in the boot of his car.

According to the Sun, "[Andree] has lived in Saudi Arabia for the past 25 years, developing and managing locally-owned oil companies. Verity [his wife] was with him until her worsening Alzheimer's forced her return to Britain for full-time care."

She told the broadcaster: "He's got a great spirit but his bodily health is not great and I just feel like he received his sentence and he did his time and I just want him home now."

Last month BuzzFeed News revealed that justice secretary Michael Gove was being blocked by other departments in his aims to distance the government from Saudi Arabia. Gove wanted to cancel a £5.9 million contract to advise the Saudi Arabian prison system that was signed by his predecessor Chris Grayling, but as we reported, other government departments had stopped him from doing so.

Gove wanted to cancel the contract over the planned crucifixion of a young activist, Ali Mohammed Baqir al-Nimr, who was sentenced to death after confessing to offences that took place when he was 17 years old.

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Today's Times reports that he was accused of "naivety" by the foreign secretary, Philip Hammond, as a result.

The paper reported:

When Mr Gove sent a memo setting the moral case for pulling out of the agreement, Mr Hammond accused him of naivety. "There was a robust exchange of views," a Whitehall source said. "The Ministry of Justice had human rights concerns; the Foreign Office felt this would have far bigger ramifications."

In the end No 10 supported the foreign secretary and said that the justice ministry must honour its bid.

David Cameron would later appear on television to defend the relationship between Saudi Arabia and Britain – including the revelation that Britain did a secret deal with the Saudis to allow both nations' election to the UN Human Rights Council in 2013. It was described by Channel 4 News host Jon Snow as "squalid".

Gove may have found some unlikely allies in his campaign. Both Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn and Douglas Carswell of Ukip have expressed sympathy with his views.

Alan White is a news editor for BuzzFeed News and is based in London.

Contact Alan White at alan.white@buzzfeed.com.

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