Briton, 74, may not survive Saudi’s lashings over illicit wine

(CNN)The crime is related to homemade wine. But can 74-year-old Karl Andree survive the punishment — 360 lashes by Saudi authorities?

His son fears that he won’t, conceding that while Andree may have done wrong in the eyes of Saudi officials, it shouldn’t warrant what may amount to a death sentence.

    "I completely understand that he has committed a crime and, for that, you have to face consequences … He understands as well," Simon Andree told CNN. "But … on the basis of his ill health, (I hope) he can get clemency and get released, because I feel he won’t survive those lashes."

    Alcohol — like narcotics, weapons, pork and pornography — are prohibited in Saudi Arabia, in line with the Middle Eastern nation’s strict Wahhabi interpretation of Islam. And it’s what got Karl Andree in trouble, for transporting homemade wine in his car.

    The British grandfather has since spent more than a year in custody.

    Simon Andree acknowledges the Saudi law in this case. But he also appealed for authorities there to take into account his father’s physical condition.

    "He’s an old man," the son said.

    British leader writes to Saudi authorities about case

    The Andree family got support Tuesday from British Prime Minister David Cameron, whose office signaled Tuesday that he will reach out to Saudi officials.

    "Given the ongoing concerns and the fact we would like to see more progress, the PM is writing today to the Saudis to further raise the case on the back of the action that has already been taken by the Foreign Office," a spokesperson for Cameron’s office said.

    In another development, UK Secretary of Justice Michael Gove announced Tuesday that his government would withdraw its $9 million (£5.9 million) for training related to the Saudi penal system. The contract was submitted by the commercial arm of the British Ministry of Justice in August 2014, the same month Andree was arrested.

    British authorities didn’t tie this development with Andree.

    Yet a spokesperson for the Foreign Office did say that diplomats have been involved in his case for some time, 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," the spokesperson said. "And we are actively seeking his release as soon as possible."

    CNN’s Simon Cullen and Alex Felton contributed to this report.

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    Statement from Attorney General Jack Conway on HB 4

    Office of the Attorney General
    Statement from Attorney General Jack Conway on HB 4

    Press Release Date:
    Friday, April 13, 2012

    Revision Date:
    Friday, April 13, 2012

    (Revised to correct date of the special session.) 

    Contact Information:
    Shelley Catharine Johnson
    Deputy Communications Director
    502-696-5659 (office)

    "It is certainly disappointing that lawmakers were unable to pass comprehensive legislation during the regular session of the General Assembly to fight prescription drug abuse in Kentucky. It is my understanding that Gov. Beshear will place HB 4 on the call for a special session of the General Assembly to begin on Monday, April 16.

    As lawmakers renew their discussion of this important legislation, I am hopeful they will not use the Free Conference Report version of HB 4 as a starting point, but rather the original legislation proposed by Speaker Stumbo, which I supported.

    To aggressively fight this epidemic, several things must be accomplished. Prescribers of Schedule II and III opiates, with reasonable exemptions for many in the medical community, must be required to use KASPER. Law enforcement must have greater access to KASPER data, so that we can identify disturbing prescribing trends. We need greater regulation of pain clinics to put an end to entrepreneurs using prescriptions to line their pockets with cash and to ensure that pain clinics are not dispensing drugs in a way intended for pharmacists.

    In its current form, HB 4 does not accomplish the goals we have outlined. Lobbyists for the medical community have watered down this bill to the point that it would place even greater restrictions on law enforcement access to KASPER data, making it more difficult to do the job we are seeking to do. Lobbyists also persuaded the Senate to remove another critical portion of HB 4 that would require doctors to register and use KASPER. Currently, only about 25 percent of prescribers in Kentucky use this important law enforcement tool.

    For the many families devastated by this scourge, I hope that the General Assembly, and the Senate in particular, will act in good faith to represent the larger public interest and not let special interests write the prescription drug legislation.

    In the Office of the Attorney General, we pledge to act in good faith to ensure that legislation passed by the General Assembly works fairly and effectively."