AN Edinburgh MP has written to the Foreign & Commonwealth Office to raise concerns over the treatment of a father-of-three left to languish in a Saudi Arabian jail.
Kausar Uddin, 48, from Sighthill, was imprisoned at the beginning of this year after being accused of assaulting a police officer – an incident his family insist was a misunderstanding.
He was initially sentenced to 35 days, but eventually spent three-and-a-half months behind bars – and a further five months battling to get home after his passport was confiscated.
His family and friends have criticised the Foreign Office’s failure to step in during the ordeal, describing officials as “toothless”.
Now Joanna Cherry, MP for Edinburgh South West, has raised concerns “over a number of issues relating to Kausar’s experience”.
She said: “Since Kausar’s arrest in February, my office and I have been working with his family, his close friend Rizwan Razan and the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office to ensure his safe return from Saudi Arabia,
“Kausar’s eight months spent in Saudi Arabia must have been an unimaginably difficult time for him and his family and the fact that Kausar has now safely returned to the UK is of immense relief.
“However, there is much work still to be done and I am working with local councillors to deal with the repercussions of his time away.
“I have written to the Foreign & Commonwealth Office to raise my concerns over a number of issues relating to Kausar’s experience and to begin discussions over what can be learned from his very difficult experience.”
Mr Uddin finally returned home three weeks ago, desribing his time in a Saudi prison as “hell”.
The taxi driver travelled to Mecca in February with his wife, three children and a group from Blackhall Mosque to take part in Umrah – a Muslim pilgrimage.
But during the final prayer of the day on Monday, February 22, Mr Uddin was caught up in the pushing and shoving of the crowd within Islam’s most sacred mosque, Al-Masjid al-Haram.
The dad previously told the News he had tried to move into an area that was closed off and was promptly collared and slapped by a policeman. Surprised, he reached out in self-defence, grabbing hold of the officer to steady himself. This was misinterpreted as assault.