Edinburgh, Fife & East Scotland

Concern after Edinburgh man arrested on Mecca pilgrimage

The Grand Mosque in Mecca Image copyright AP
Image caption The incident happened while Kausar Uddin was on a pilgrimage to Mecca

Concerns have been raised at Holyrood about an Edinburgh man who was arrested during a pilgrimage to Mecca.

Edinburgh Pentlands MSP Gordon MacDonald said Kausar Uddin, from Broomhouse, had tripped and grabbed hold of the nearest person for balance.

He told MSPs the person Mr Uddin grabbed turned out to be a police officer, which led to him being imprisoned for assault.

Mr Uddin was being accompanied by his wife and three children at the time.

They had travelled to Mecca last month with other pilgrims from the city's Blackhall Mosque.

Image copyright J Thomas
Image caption Mr Uddin had travelled to Mecca with a group from the Blackhall Mosque

Speaking during First Minister's Questions, Mr MacDonald said: "During the final prayer of the day there was a surge in the crowd and Mr Uddin grabbed hold of the nearest person for balance.

"Unfortunately, that person turned out to be a police officer and he was arrested for assault. Mr Uddin was sentenced to 35 days in prison and there is concern that he may be subject to another trial which could result in a far longer sentence.

"Given that people who are on holy pilgrimage with their family do not travel with the intention to assault anyone, I ask if there is any way that the first minister can intervene to assist my constituent."

Prison visit

Ms Sturgeon said: "I am very concerned to hear about Mr Uddin's situation. Very large numbers of my own constituents go on pilgrimage to Mecca every single year so I understand the concerns that have been raised by this case.

"My officials have already been in contact with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and they have advised that the British Embassy are now in touch with Mr Uddin by phone and they have requested a prison visit via the ministry of foreign affairs.

"They have also advised us that, at this stage, they have not had Mr Uddin's sentence confirmed as the case appears to be still under investigation.

"We have asked to be kept updated and informed of any progress."

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