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British foreign secretary visits Saudi Arabia, meets King Salman

Karl Andree

A few reports suggested Saudi officials never intended for Mr Andree to be flogged, due to his age and health, but his family questioned the delay in his release from prison.

Simon Andree said he watched Hammond's statement on television and he had not been told of his father's release beforehand.

Wednesday's news emerged as Philip Hammond travelled to Saudi Arabia after the country's ambassador to the United Kingdom warned of an "alarming change" in the relationship between the two countries.

Mr Andree, who worked in the oil industry, was arrested in the ancient city of Jeddah last Summer.

Prime Minister David Cameron said on Twitter: "Good to hear news from #Saudi that #KarlAndree is to be released within the week". According to the organization, an investigation into 13 Saudi airstrikes in Yemen between May and July showed that they killed 100 civilians and injured more than 60 others.

More than 75,000 people have signed a petition calling for the release of Andree.

The minister said his four-nation tour of the Gulf would allow him to talk to "key partners" about "security issues" ahead of a major conference on Saturday.

But the cancellation of the contract and politicians' comments struck a nerve with Saudi Ambassador Prince Mohammed bin Nawaf bin Abdulaziz, who wrote in the Daily Telegraph earlier this week that his country "will not be lectured to by anyone" and that Britain may face "potentially serious repercussions".

"The Saudi government's misconceived view seems to be that not only must Britain keep its mouth shut about their horrific abuses - we should also be actively supporting them", caseworker Kate Higham said.

Grandfather Karl Andree, who faced 350 lashes over alcohol laws, could be home "within a week", it has been announced.

Reprieve's Kate Higham said: "Despite the Foreign Secretary's hint last week that he "does not expect" the Saudis to carry out ugly punishments on Ali al-Nimr and Karl Andree, it appears these assurances are shaky at best".