An Edinburgh mosque has backed calls to free a dad-of-three locked up in a Saudi Arabian prison following a misunderstanding during a religious pilgrimage.
Kausar Uddin, 47, from Sighthill, was arrested and thrown behind bars during a trip to Mecca last month with his wife, three children and a group from Blackhall Mosque.
The takeaway boss, who owns Eastern Masala in Leith, was taking part in Umrah - a Muslim pilgrimage - when he was caught up in the pushing and shoving of the crowd within Islam’s most sacred mosque, Al-Masjid al-Haram.
He tripped and grabbed onto a nearby police officer to steady himself - an action that was misinterpreted as an attempt at assault.
After being allegedly beaten up, he was thrown in jail and sentenced to 35 days behind bars on Monday, February 29 - and has now been told he could face up to two years following a retrial.
Blackhall Mosque said they had “serious reservations” about his treatment and imprisonment.
A statement released through a lawyer said: “Those who were responsible for organising the trip to Mecca were actively involved in trying to resolve matters to the best of their ability whilst in Saudi Arabia but with no avail.
“Clearly, it will be appreciated that the Criminal Justice System and its implementation is solely a matter for the authorities in Saudi Arabia.
“Notwithstanding the great efforts made by individuals from the Blackhall Mosque in Edinburgh who were on the trip the authorities decided to prosecute Mr Uddin.
“The Blackhall Mosque has been in contact with Mr Uddins family on a daily basis since the incident occurred.
“Mr Uddin is a family man with young children and our thoughts are with them during this difficult and traumatic period in their lives. We remain to assist and support them throughout this period.
“We join Mr Uddin’s family and appeal directly to the Government and to the Foreign Office to ensure that everything is being done to secure Mr Uddins liberty and safe return to Scotland.