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A British pensioner sentenced to 350 lashes in Saudi Arabia will be freed

But the ultra conservative country’s bloggers and political activists still face torture and death.

Karl Andree
Karl Andree
Image: Facebook

A BRITISH PENSIONER sentenced to be flogged for possession of alcohol will be freed within a week, according to British foreign secretary Philip Hammond.

Karl Andree, a former oil executive was originally sentenced to 350 lashes after he was caught in possession of alcohol, a serious offence inside the ultra conservative kingdom.

The 74-year-old, who has already served a year in jail for the crime will now be released and sent home to Britain.

The move, which came following a meeting between the British foreign secretary and his Saudi counterpart, was broadly welcomed by UK government officials.

British Prime Minister David Cameron tweeted his support for Andree shortly after the news was announced.

Despite Andree’s release, Saudi officials still show no sign of leniency towards their fellow compatriots.

The wife of detained Saudi blogger Raif Badawi, who was sentenced to 1,000 lashes and prison for insulting Islam, said that she has been told his punishment will resume soon.

Ensar Haidar made the claims on a campaign website dedicated to her husband’s plight, citing an ‘informed source’.

Badawi’s punishment sparked worldwide outrage after he was arrested in 2012 for criticising the country’s strict religious police.

He received the first 50 lashes of his sentence in January before further lashings were postponed.

It is unclear why the government has taken the decision to resume the punishment.

Meanwhile the future of fellow Saudi activist Ali Mohammed al-Nimr still hangs in the balance after he was sentenced to death for alleged political actions carried out when he was 17.

The British foreign secretary said he said he did not ‘expect’ the Saudi government would execute the teenager, who comes from a family of opposition activists.

Saudi Arabia has carried out more than 100 executions since January, according to Human Rights Watch.

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