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Scots father kept in Saudi jail despite serving sentence

Fears are growing that the authorities could detain Kausar Uddin for months or years.

Jailed: Kausar Uddin remains in prison in Saudi Arabia.
Jailed: Kausar Uddin remains in prison in Saudi Arabia.

A Scots takeaway boss arrested in Saudi Arabia during a pilgrimage is being kept in prison despite serving almost double his sentence.

Kausar Uddin, from Edinburgh, was jailed on February 29 after he was caught up in a crowd in Islam’s most sacred mosque, the Masjid al-Haram.

The father-of-three was on a pilgrimage organised by Edinburgh’s Blackhall Mosque when he tripped and pushed into a police officer.

Mr Uddin was arrested and jailed for 35 days after the authorities accused him of assaulting the officer; an allegation which his relatives insist is a misunderstanding.

He has been kept in prison despite serving the sentence, and now fears the authorities could keep him there for months or even years.

Family friend Rizwan Razan said Mr Uddin, who owns a takeaway in Leith, has now been locked up for almost 60 days with no indication of when he will be released.

He said: “They were saying they were going to release him on bail but they can’t guarantee that he’ll be able to leave the country.

“They’re going to have another court date and will decide if the punishment is sufficient.

“In the justiciary process, there doesn’t seem to be any common sense.”

The family has set up a petition calling on Prime Minister David Cameron and First Minister Nicola Sturgeon to intervene, which has so far attracted more than 5000 signatures.

Appealing on the online petition site, Mr Uddin’s daughter Kaulsom, 17, wrote: “Without him we’re lost. This month has already been a struggle and we pray that one month does not turn into several.”

It is hoped that the campaign will spur on the Foreign Office to take action, however Mr Razan said their powers appeared to be limited.

“All they can do is chase the lawyer up for you,” he said. “I would think as a British citizen you would have more support. David Cameron’s office has not responded.”

While Mr Uddin struggles to cope in prison, his family are trying to make ends meet.

Mr Razan said: “[The family] has got no income at the moment. They have now found a lawyer who said he would help the family out.

“He was the main breadwinner so they have got no income. His eldest two children have got exams, you can imagine it is very stressful. His wife is depressed because her father has also just died.”

Mr Uddin has been moved to another prison which has better conditions, however he has been struggling with ill health.

“He says you’re getting illnesses left, right and centre. But if he asks to see a doctor, they’re not interested.

“There are people there who have been there for months and years when they should have only been there for weeks,” said Mr Razan.

The Foreign Office has said it is providing consular assistance to the Uddin family.

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