Briton, Canadian sentenced to death in Saudi Arabia
A Saudi court has sentenced a Briton and a Canadian to death and ordered four Britons and a Belgian imprisoned for their roles in fatal bombings in 2000, a lawyer for some of the defendants said on Sunday. The Saudi Justice Ministry refused to comment on the matter.
Canadian William Sampson and Briton Alexander Mitchell were sentenced to death, while Britons James Lee, James Cottle, Les Walker and Peter Brandon and Belgian Raf Schyvens were given prison sentences, according to lawyer Michael O'Kane. O'Kane is working for the Saudi al-Hujeilan law firm representing the Canadian and British defendants.
O'Kane, speaking to The Associated Press during a telephone interview from Riyadh, could not say how long the jail sentences were or on exactly which charges each was convicted and sentenced. The legal process in the case has been shadowed by secrecy and allegations of mistreatment.
Moreover, O'Kane said lawyers had appealed for the verdicts and sentences to be dismissed, saying the defense team maintains men were tortured into making confessions that later were withdrawn.
Those sentenced to death in Saudi Arabia are beheaded in public by a sword-wielding executioner under the kingdom’s strict interpretation of Islam. The men were detained after Briton Christopher Rodway, aged 48, who worked in a Saudi hospital, was killed in a November 17 explosion in Riyadh that also slightly injured his wife. On November 22, another car bomb injured two men and a woman, all Britons.
Sampson, Mitchell and Schyvens were shown on Saudi state television in February 2001 confessing to carrying out the bombings. No motive was given. (Albawaba.com)
© 2002 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)