Candian Governments Press Release
       Return To William Sampson's Homepage

                                        May 28, 2001 (3:35 p.m. EDT) No. 70

John Manley, Minister of Foreign Affairs, today announced that the Department of Foreign Affairs
and International Trade has been actively investigating reports that Canadian prisoner William
Sampson may have been physically abused in a Saudi prison.

Following reports from departmental officials at the Canadian embassy in Riyadh, Mr. Manley called
in the Saudi Ambassador to Canada on May 24 to express shock at the allegations that Mr.
Sampson's rights were being violated. He also asked the Ambassador to ensure that Mr. Sampson
be provided with daily consular access, that he be examined by a medical professional designated by
Canada, that he be allowed to discuss his condition and situation openly, and that the incident be
fully investigated by Saudi authorities, with the results provided to Canadian officials.

"Saudi officials have responded favourably to my requests and Mr. Sampson was examined by a
Canadian-designated medical professional today in the presence of the Canadian ambassador," said
Mr. Manley. "We have informed Saudi officials that we hold them responsible for Mr. Sampson's
safety and that we expect him to be treated in accordance with international standards for prisoners
set out in the Geneva Convention. We will continue to pursue this case with senior Saudi authorities
until we have satisfactory answers."

Mr. Manley noted that Mr. Sampson and his family have specifically requested that the results of his
medical examination not be released.

The Minister also noted that the Canadian embassy in Riyadh had raised this matter with the Saudi
Deputy Minister of the Interior and would be following up on the incident with him and other senior
Saudi officials.

Mr. Sampson has been detained by Saudi officials since mid-December 2000 on suspicion of being
involved in two separate bombings that took place on November 17 and 22 in Riyadh. These
bombings resulted in the death of a British citizen and the injury of four other foreign nationals. Mr.
Sampson's case is still under investigation by Saudi officials who have yet to lay any formal charges
and set a trial date.

Minister Manley underscored that Canada had been diligent in seeking justice for Mr. Sampson and
providing him with consular assistance. The Minister noted that he had raised Mr. Sampson's case
with the Saudi Ambassador to Canada on April 4 and that the Canadian Ambassador to Saudi
Arabia had met with the Saudi Minister and Deputy Minister of the Interior, on several occasions, to
discuss consular access, legal representation and Mr. Sampson's health. In addition, Canadian
consular officials in Riyadh have visited Mr. Sampson on eight separate occasions since his arrest,
and facilitated meetings between the prisoner and his father.

"We have impressed on Saudi authorities, both here and in Riyadh, the need to respect international
norms concerning the treatment of detainees, consular access, rules of evidence and the conduct of
trials, and will continue to do so," said Mr. Manley.

           For further information, media representatives may contact:

                                        Tony Macerollo
                                    Executive Assistant
                Office of the Minister of Foreign Affairs
                                        (613) 995-1851

                                  Media Relations Office
        Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade
                                        (613) 995-1874

                                         The Above information was provided by The Government of Canada
      Return To William Sampson's Homepage

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