Call for Saudis to free wrongly jailed Sighthill dad Kausar Uddin

Kausar Uddin with two of his children
Kausar Uddin with two of his children
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PRESSURE is mounting on politicians to help a dad of three locked up in a Saudi Arabian prison following a misunderstanding during a pilgrimage.

Kausar Uddin, 47, from Sighthill, was beaten and imprisoned during a trip to Mecca last month with his wife, three children and a group from Blackhall Mosque.

Now his ordeal, which was revealed by the News at the beginning of the week, is set to be raised in the Scottish Parliament after a motion was lodged by local SNP MSP Gordon Macdonald.

Meanwhile, human rights campaigners and Blackhall Mosque have called for an urgent intervention from the Foreign Office – describing Mr Uddin’s treatment as a “travesty”.

Mr Macdonald’s motion appeals to “the UK government and to the Foreign Office to ensure that everything is being done to secure Mr Uddin’s liberty and safe return to Scotland”.

Robina Qureshi, the director of Scottish charity Positive Action in Housing, has also asked politicians to raise Mr Uddin’s imprisonment during today’s First Minister’s Questions, adding: “We are concerned that the UK Foreign Office is dragging its feet on this case because Kausar is a British Muslim.”

Mr Uddin, who owns the Eastern Masala takeaway in Leith, was taking part in Umrah – a Muslim pilgrimage – when he was caught up in the surging crowd within Islam’s most sacred mosque, Masjid al-Haram.

He tripped and grabbed on to a nearby police officer to steady himself – an action that was misinterpreted as an attempted assault. After being allegedly beaten up, he was thrown in jail and sentenced to 35 days behind bars on Monday, February 29.

He has now been told he could face up to two years following a retrial.

Blackhall Mosque, which organised the Uddin family’s trip to Mecca, said it had “serious reservations” about his treatment.

A statement 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.

“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 Uddin’s liberty and safe return to Scotland.”