Saudi Court Hands Down Jail, Lashing Sentences on Four Britons for Alcohol Trade
Four Britons have been sentenced in Saudi Arabia to jail and floggings for illegally trading alcohol, Britain's Foreign Office said Thursday, quoted by Reuters.
The four men appeared in court in the Saudi Arabian capital Riyadh last Saturday, a Foreign Office spokeswoman told the agency.
Kevin Hawkins was sentenced to two-and-a-half years in jail and 500 lashes, while Kevin Hartley is to receive 300 lashes and will be jailed for two-and-a-half years.
Paul Moss was sentenced to two years and 500 lashes and David Mornin was jailed for one year and will receive 300 lashes. Mornin was also fined 40,000 riyals (e10,670).
"The British government has long had a policy that corporal punishment is an infringement of human rights," said the Foreign Office spokeswoman.
She said the men had the right to appeal and were likely to ask for the lashes to be commuted in exchange for longer jail terms.
A British embassy official visited the men last week and was seeking access to them again as soon as possible, the spokeswoman added.
In a related development, Saudi Crown Prince Abdullah bin Abdulaziz has cancelled an upcoming visit to Canada following criticism by newspapers and officials there of the alleged treatment of a Canadian citizen in a Saudi prison.
"It is now certain that he (Prince Abdullah) has cancelled his visit to Canada because of criticism from Canadian officials and newspapers of the security and religious situation in the kingdom," Al-Riyadh quoted a senior official as saying.
Canada's National Post reported on Monday and Tuesday that there was evidence that Bill Sampson, 43, who has been held since November in connection with two bomb explosions in Riyadh, but not yet charged, had been tortured.
But a government official in Ottawa said Tuesday that “there is no truth to allegations that a Canadian citizen was tortured or deliberately mistreated in a Saudi jail and reports of his injuries have been exaggerated.”
The official said that it was clear Sampson's injuries had been suffered during an attempt to restrain the prisoner, who was shown on Saudi television earlier this year confessing to a fatal bombing in Riyadh.
Sampson was taken to hospital last week with injuries that some of his relatives said included a fractured vertebra and bad bruising on his arms and legs, which they alleged had been inflicted during a beating by his jailers – Albawaba.com
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