Saudi 500 lashes ordeal memory for St Helens family

Simon Andree (left) with his father Karl Andree who has been threatened with 350 lashes in Saudi Arabia after being caught with home-made wine
Simon Andree (left) with his father Karl Andree who has been threatened with 350 lashes in Saudi Arabia after being caught with home-made wine
  • St Helens man Paul Moss faced cruel punishment in Saudi Arabia
  • Mr Moss’ case echoed that of British grandfather Karl Andree
  • The then St Helens North MP Dave Watts raised the case on behalf of Mr Moss’ family

The plight of a 74-year-old grandfather facing 350 lashes will bring back harrowing memories for one St Helens family.

Paul Moss, then aged 29, has been sentenced to 500 lashes and two years in a Saudi jail in 2001 after being convicted of breaking the country’s strict alcohol laws.

His case is echoed in the plight of British grandfather Karl Andree, 74, who is facing a similar punishment after being caught with home-made wine by authorities in Saudi Arabia last year.

Mr Andree’s family went public earlier this week in the hope of forcing the Saudi judiciary to reverse their decision.

Mr Moss’ family made similar pleas to the authorities in Saudi Arabia to show mercy to their son

Mr Moss was convicted along with two other Britons; Kevin Hawkins, from Lancashire who was sentenced to 500 lashes and two and a half year in jail, and his 49-year-old son-in-law, Dave Mornin who was sentenced to one year’s jail and 300 lashes, plus a fine.

Another man, Kevin Hartley, was earlier sentenced to two-and-a-half years plus 300 lashes.

Mr Moss’s family made an official appeal to the Saudi Government, and have enlisted the help of the Foreign Office and their Member of Parliament.

Dave Watts, who spoke to the St Helens Reporter at the time on behalf at the time, told the Reporter: “We are hoping that we can get the sentences changed, or at the very least have the custodial sentence extended and the lashing dropped from the sentence.

“An appeal has now been made to Saudi officials for leniency.

I have spoken to the Foreign office and they said that Foreign Secretary Robin Cook had been in touch with the Saudi government to say that although we accept Mr Moss broke the law we would be opposed to corporal punishment

Then St Helens North MP Dave Watts

“I have spoken to the Foreign office and they said that Foreign Secretary Robin Cook had been in touch with the Saudi government to say that although we accept Mr Moss broke the law we would be opposed to corporal punishment.”

Mr Watts added that Mr Moss’ parents were “holding up as well as can be expected” but did not want to speak to the press.

It was never made public whether Mr Moss received his punishment.

The Foreign Office said the British Government was opposed to corporal punishment as it represented a “infringement of human rights”.

A spokeswoman said: “There is a chance to have Mr Moss’ jail sentence extended in exchange for the lashes being commuted.

“We will be talking to the family and Saudi officials to do all that we can. We will go as strong as we can to prevent this taking place.”

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