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Wed 11 Nov 2015 02:41 PM

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Brit jailed in Saudi Arabia for alcohol offences returns home to UK

Karl Andree had been in prison for more than a year after he was arrested for possessing homemade wine

Brit jailed in Saudi Arabia for alcohol offences returns home to UK
Karl Andree. (Image: Facebook)

A British citizen arrested for producing and possessing wine in Saudi Arabia, where alcohol is illegal, has returned to the UK, the Foreign Office confirmed on Wednesday.

Karl Andree, 74, had been in prison for more than a year after he was arrested by Saudi religious police for possessing homemade wine.

Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond said in comment published by the BBC that he was "pleased" Mr Andree had been reunited with his family.

Hammond said the release showed the "strength" of Anglo-Saudi relations.

Andree also faced 350 lashes after being caught with alcohol in the Gulf kingdom, a punishment his family feared could kill him.

The case underlined diplomatic tensions over human rights in Saudi Arabia, which is considered one of Britain's closest military allies in the Middle East.

Earlier this month, it was reported that UK Prime Minister David Cameron had personally intervened to help restore diplomatic relations with Saudi Arabia, following fears that the kingdom was ready to withdraw its ambassador from the country.

The Telegraph reported that the Foreign Office feared that Saudi Arabia’s ambassador, Prince Mohammed Bin Nawaf Bin Abdulaziz, was about to take a temporary ‘leave of absence’ as it reviewed its relations with the UK.

It came after the British government withdrew from plans to bid for an $8.98 million contract with Saudi Arabia to supply training to the Gulf kingdom's prison services.

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