There’s an old saying ‘when in Rome, do as the Romans do’. A certain Mr Karl Andree might be currently reflecting on this sound piece of advice right now. And, frankly, he should.

Mr Andree, a long time resident in that paradise of liberal freedoms (Saudi Arabia), decided to transport homemade vino in his car. He would have been perfectly aware of the draconian anti booze laws in Saudi Arabia but he still committed what is a crime in that country.

So, fast forward, he’s completed his year long jail sentence (and, yes, I think that’s crazy) and now faces the pleasure of 300 odd lashes. Something not likely to improve the health of the average 74 year old guy.

Cue media frenzy, calls for Mr Andree to be pardoned/let off/patted on his head.

All this frothy media activity misses a couple of points.

1. Saudi Arabia, like most religionist states, is run like a 6th century feudal kingdom. There is no rule of law, as we’d recognise it. Breaching local cultural taboos can result in punishments that can include execution. Such modern niceties, like freedom of speech, must submit to the local brand of Cosmic Woo Woo.

2. If you choose to visit such a religionist state then you have to accept their rules and ways of doing things.

3. You cannot expect your country to pull you out of  the mess you created. That old saw from the US comes to mind ‘if you can’t do the time, don’t do the crime’.

I understand that Mr Andree won’t be flogged – at least that’s what some media outlets are saying – and if that’s true then he’s a lucky guy. My advice to Mr Andree would be to leave Saudi Arabia at the first opportunity because abiding by their rules is obviously something you cannot do.

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