Edinburgh man faces wait in Saudi Arabia jail

Uddin family pictured at their home in Broomhouse Road, Edinburgh. Picture: Ian Rutherford

Uddin family pictured at their home in Broomhouse Road, Edinburgh. Picture: Ian Rutherford

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THE desperate family of a dad of three locked up in a Saudi Arabian prison have been told it could take up to three weeks for UK officials to get permission to enter his jail.

Kausar Uddin, 47, from Sighthill, was arrested and thrown behind bars following a misunderstanding during a trip to Mecca last month with his wife, three children and a group from Blackhall Mosque.

Kausar Uddin. Picture: Ian Rutherford

Kausar Uddin. Picture: Ian Rutherford

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 on to a nearby police officer to steady himself – an action that was misinterpreted as an attempt at assault.

After allegedly being beaten, 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.

His frantic family have heaped pressure on the Foreign Office and politicians to intervene and bring him home.

But family friend Rizwan Raza, from Craiglockhart, said government officials had warned it could take up to three weeks to even make contact with Mr Uddin.

Joanna Cherry, MP for Edinburgh South West, said she was “very concerned” about Mr Uddin’s detention and had met with his family.

She added: “We received an update yesterday morning. There appears to be some progress being made but there is still a long way to go.”

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