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      From The News...

Second Canadian arrested in Saudi bombings,
diplomat says Foreign Affairs checking

                   The Associated Press and the National Post - February 21, 2001

                    RIYADH - The Canadian Department of Foreign Affairs officials are
                    investigating a report that a second Canadian has been arrested in Saudi
                    Arabia on suspicion of involvement in bombings that killed a Briton late last
                    year.

                    The report yesterday, from a diplomat who asked to remain anonymous, did
                    not contain details on the arrest. The diplomat also declined to identify the
                    Canadian.

                    Reynald Doiron, a Foreign Affairs spokesman in Ottawa, said that a similar
                    rumour had been circulating until last week, but was proven unfounded.

                    "We had been given a name," said Mr. Doiron. "The Canadian was located
                    and he was rather surprised, thank you.

                    "We don't know, regarding this story today, whether it's the same rumour
                    that has been rolled over or it's a totally separate situation.

                    "Not to take any chances, we're running it by high officials in the Saudi
                    Ministry of the Interior."

                    Two bombings in Riyadh and one in the eastern city Khobar killed a British
                    man and wounded five other Britons between Nov. 17 and Dec. 15.

                    Canadian William James Sampson, 42, a long-time resident of Britain who
                    has family in British Columbia, has been held by Saudi authorities since Dec.
                    16.

                    Besides Mr. Sampson, who worked for a Saudi industrial development
                    agency, a Briton, a Belgian and four Americans have also been detained in
                    the case.

                    Mr. Sampson, along with Alexander Mitchell of Britain and Raf Schifter of
                    Belgium, were shown on Saudi TV this month in an appearance in which all
                    three confessed to the bombings.

                    Canadian embassy staff in Riyadh were unable to confirm the report of a
                    second Canadian being arrested.

                    "We've no information; that's totally news to us," an embassy spokesman
                    said when contracted after the arrest was reported.

                    Neither the suspects nor Saudi officials have given a motive for the
                    bombings. Convicted murderers in Saudi Arabia are publicly beheaded,
                    although the victim's family can spare the convict's life or ask for money in
                    exchange for clemency.

                    No charges have been laid and a trial date has not been set.



Bombing suspect denied lawyer Ambassador intervenes
- Anne Marie Owens, National Post     February 12, 2001
                    A Canadian man in custody in Saudi Arabia for car bombings that killed a
                    British expatriate and injured several others is being denied legal
                    representation while he is under investigation.

                    The Canadian ambassador in Riyadh met with Prince Nayef, the Saudi
                    Interior Minister, late last night to discuss the case against William Sampson,
                    one of three Westerners who made dramatic televised confessions to the
                    bombings last week.

                    Among the topics discussed at the late-night meeting were regular consular
                    access to Mr. Sampson, legal representation, and a sense of how the case
                    will proceed.

                    Reynald Doiron, a spokesman for the Department of Foreign Affairs, said the
                    Interior Minister promised that Canadian authorities would soon be allowed
                    to visit Mr. Sampson in custody.

                    Mr. Sampson, a 42-year-old in Riyadh working for the Saudi Industrial
                    Development Fund, has been in custody since mid-December. Canadian
                    authorities met with him when they first learned of his arrest last month, but
                    have not been granted access since he appeared on Saudi television
                    confessing to the bombings.

                    Mr. Doiron said the Saudi minister said legal representation was not possible
                    for Mr. Sampson "at this stage of the investigation," but that once the
                    investigation stage was over, the Canadian would be free to seek legal help.



Saudis may have second Canadian bombing suspect
William James's arrest connected to alcohol smuggling,
sources say -                    Steven Edwards, National Post

                    NEW YORK - A second Canadian may be under investigation by Saudi
                    Arabian authorities probing a spate of bombings which left one British
                    expatriate worker dead in the kingdom, it emerged last night.

                    Sources linked to the expatriate community in Riyadh, capital of Saudi
                    Arabia, said yesterday that a man named William James had been arrested
                    and questioned in connection with an alcohol smuggling ring believed linked
                    to the bombings.

                    The authorities later released the man on condition he not leave the country,
                    according to the sources.

                    Canadian Foreign Affairs officials last night said they had "no information" on
                    whether the Saudis had involved any Canadian other than William Sampson,
                    42, in the investigation.

                    Mr. Sampson and a British man appeared on Saudi television last Sunday
                    and admitted they detonated a car bomb that killed a Briton and injured his
                    wife on Dec. 17. The pair and a Belgian worker implicated themselves in a
                    Nov. 22 blast, which injured three Britons and an Irish woman.

                    Questions have been raised about whether the confessions were staged, but
                    if convicted under Saudi Arabia's shariah (Islamic) law, Mr. Sampson and the
                    British man could be beheaded in public.

                    Melvyn MacDonald, Canada's ambassador to Saudi Arabia, will today meet
                    with the Saudi Vice-Foreign Minister to "raise the question" of visiting Mr.
                    Sampson, said a Foreign Affairs spokesman.

                    Saudi authorities have allowed Canadian embassy staff to see him only once
                    since his arrest -- on Jan 27.

                    Nine expatriate workers are in custody following the bomb attacks, which
                    included a December blast that injured a Scottish Coca-Cola sales manager.

                    Most, if not all, are linked in some way to expatriate drinking houses, which
                    are illegal in Saudi Arabia, a Muslim country where alcohol is banned.

                    Some expatriate sources believe the bombings are linked to a turf war over
                    the alcohol trafficking, which may be worth as much as US$1-billion a year.

                    While illicit bars have existed for years, the explosions set off alarm bells for
                    authorities in Saudi Arabia, where the crime rate is low.

                    David Mornin, a Scot among the nine arrested, ran the Celtic Club, one of
                    the more exclusive drinking establishments in Riyadh.

                    Helping him was Kelvin Hawkins, his father-in-law, who is also under arrest.
                    Two patrons among the nine were Michael Sedlak, an American, and Paul
                    Moss, of Merseyside, England.

                    An expatriate source who knows all four yesterday described the club. "It
                    was in a walled compound containing about 20 aluminum residences for
                    expatriates," said the source. "One had been converted to the club. You
                    would walk in through a nondescript door, and inside you would have bar
                    mats, and Guinness signs, and television with British football. It would be as
                    smoky as can be -- just like a pub."

                    On tap was homemade beer and wine, but brand-name suds and spirits were
                    available for a price.

                    "A case of Budweiser cost around [US]$150, the same for a bottle of Johnny
                    Walker," said the source, who identified one of the nine as a "big supplier."

                    Expressing shock about the bombings, the source said, "I think the business
                    is huge, just like in the U.S. at the time of prohibition. I can't imagine Dave
                    Mornin is capable of anything like this. There was an instance when a rival
                    pub opened on the compound, and they said, 'We are going to do something
                    about this.' But I never sensed that anything murderous could happen."

                    The source said about a half- dozen similar clubs exist in Riyadh at any one
                    time, though they come and go as they are raided by authorities.

                    Membership fees were around US$50 for the Celtic Club and US$15 for the
                    Empire Club. "You could just about walk in off the street to Shenanigans,
                    while Tudor Rose was the most exclusive," the source said.



         Father fears for son in saudi jail B.C. man 'sick over this'
                                                                                                  National Post
                    Francine Dubé and Ian Bailey, with files from Steven Edwards in New York
                    National Post, with files from news services

                    VANCOUVER - The father of a Canadian man facing the death penalty in
                    Saudi Arabia is beside himself with worry over his son, friends and
                    neighbours said yesterday.

                    "He's just sick over all this, he's not feeling well," said a woman who
                    answered the bell at James Sampson's home in a three-storey condominium
                    complex in White Rock, one hour south of Vancouver.

                    Mr. Sampson's son, William Sampson, 42, is one of nine foreigners being
                    detained in a Saudi prison on suspicion of planting car bombs that killed one
                    man and injured five other people in Riyadh, the capital, in November.

                    Under Islamic law, William Sampson could be beheaded in public if found
                    guilty.

                    A neighbour of Mr. Sampson said his son recently visited his father in British
                    Columbia. Mr. Sampson, a former Royal Air Force pilot who later flew for Air
                    Canada, also had been to visit his son in Saudi Arabia within the past year.

                    "William showed him the country and vicinity," said Robert Beattie.

                    Other neighbours said Mr. Sampson often travels to Asia and has taught
                    English in Japan. They believe he may have been in France when news that
                    his son confessed to car bombings in Saudi Arabia broke.

                    Saudi television aired the confessions by William Sampson and Alexander
                   Mitchell, a British citizen, this week. Relatives in Britain said they believe Mr.
                    Sampson, who was working for the Saudi Industrial Development Fund in
                    Riyadh, had been forced into his confession.

                    "He looked like he hadn't slept for a month. He's an intelligent man, he earns
                    enough money so he doesn't need to get involved in this," said his cousin,
                    also named William, who lives in Merseyside.

                    "The gaunt stare, coupled with the fact that they showed no emotion in what
                    they're saying leads me to believe that they have been drugged and are not
                    aware of what's going on."

                    The cousin said James Sampson served in the RAF before retiring to work at
                    Air Canada. The family moved to Canada and then Singapore before William
                    returned to the U.K. to study, completing a degree in biochemistry in England
                    and an MBA in Edinburgh.

                    Melvyn MacDonald, the Canadian ambassador to Saudi Arabia, said the
                    matter remains under investigation and his staff has met with William
                    Sampson. "But we still haven't gained regular access."

                    Mr. MacDonald said no charges have been laid yet, despite the confession.

                    Reports in the Saudi press say the men were involved in a feud over a
                    lucrative trade among expatriate workers in illicit whisky. But Stephen
                    Jakobi, the executive director of London-based Fair Trial Abroad, an
                    organization that fights for the rights of European citizens outside their own
                    countries, said yesterday the Saudi government may be looking for
                    scapegoats.

                    "I think basically it would do everybody a great deal of good to realize that
                    just because confessions have appeared on television doesn't mean to say
                    that things are as they seem," Mr. Jakobi said from London.

                    Fair Trial Abroad helped free two British nurses who were convicted in Saudi
                    Arabia for the murder of an Australian woman in 1996.

                    Mr. Jakobi said he had been asked by members of the Sampson family in
                    Britain and relatives of Mr. Mitchell to petition on the men's behalf. Mr.
                    Mitchell, originally from the Glasgow area, worked as a technician in the
                    anesthesia department at a military hospital in Riyadh.

                    Mr. Jakobi said British officials met with Mr. Mitchell a week before the
                    televised confession. At that time, Mr. Mitchell was being detained on charges
                    relating to the sale of liquor, which is illegal in Saudi Arabia. No mention was
                    made by anyone of murder charges.

                    "When Saudis want a particular story told, they grab the people involved --
                    or not involved, as the case may be -- hold them for long periods of time,
                    subject them to threats, promises, relay interrogation and keep on
                    presenting to them different forms of the story until the story is signed the
                    way they want it to come out," Mr. Jakobi said.

                    Ali Alahmed, executive director of the Saudi Institute in Washington, D.C.,
                    said yesterday that the Saudi press is calling for blood in this case.

                    "It doesn't look good for those people because of the way this whole thing is
                    unravelling," Mr. Alahmed said.



Canadian held by Saudis looked drugged:
cousin TV confession in bombings            February 8, 2001
Richard Foot, with files from Anne Marie Owens  National Post

                    English relatives of William Sampson, the
                    Canadian facing execution in Saudi Arabia for
                    allegedly planting a car bomb that killed a
                    man last year, say Mr. Sampson appeared to
                    be drugged when he was shown on television
                    confessing to the crime.

                    The Express, a British newspaper, reported
                    yesterday Mr. Sampson's cousin -- also called
                    William Sampson -- said relatives in Britain
                    had no idea Mr. Sampson had been arrested.
                    He said the family fears the confession was
                    forced out of him.

                    "When we saw him on television it came as a
                    complete shock," said the cousin, who lives in
                    Merseyside, England. "We did not even realize
                    he was being held. He looked drugged and brainwashed. We fear for his
                    health and his life."

                    Officials at Canada's Department of Foreign Affairs say Mr. Sampson entered
                    Saudi Arabia on a Canadian passport. They say they have been in close
                    contact with members of his family in Canada since news of his arrest first
                    reached consular officials in Ottawa in January.

                    Mr. Sampson, 42, remains mostly a mystery, however, because his
                    Canadian relatives have asked Foreign Affairs not to disclose information
                    about him or his family.

                    Reports say he has relatives in British Columbia, is unmarried, and holds a
                    doctorate in economics. Canadian universities that offer PhD level programs
                    in economics have no record of Mr. Sampson.

                    His English cousin says Mr. Sampson spent much of his life in Britain before
                    finding a job in the Middle East.

                    Mr. Sampson was a member of Saudi Arabia's community of skilled
                    expatriate workers, and was employed as a marketing director at the Saudi
                    Investment Development Fund, a government agency.

                    In Riyadh, the Saudi capital, however, Mr. Sampson's co-workers insist they
                    did not know him, despite the fact he worked at the Investment
                    Development Fund for about five years.

                    Little else has been revealed about Mr. Sampson, other than the image of his
                    weary face, broadcast this week on Saudi television confessing to his role in
                    the murder of a fellow expatriate.

                    Mr. Sampson has been detained with at least eight other foreigners accused
                    by local authorities of participating in the planting of a car bomb that killed
                    Briton Christopher Rodway in Riyadh last November.

                    Mr. Sampson, Alexander Mitchell, a British citizen, and a Belgian man were
                    all shown on state-run television admitting to two car explosions that killed
                    Mr. Rodway and injured a total of five other people. Under Islamic law, the
                    three foreigners could be beheaded in public if found guilty by the Saudi
                    justice system.

                    Reports out of Riyadh say the men were involved in a feud over a lucrative
                    trade among expatriate workers in illicit whisky. The reports say all were
                    members of, or shareholders in, a series of drinking dens in Riyadh -- called
                    Celtic Corner, Woodlands, Raffles and the Empire Club.

                    Alcohol is forbidden in Saudi Arabia, but authorities tolerate its discreet use
                    within the expatriate community.

                    Mr. Mitchell, a Scot, worked with Mr. Rodway at the Internal Security Hospital
                    in Riyadh.

                    Mr. Mitchell's Thai wife, Noi, has said from Riyadh her husband is "a good
                    man and a good father. He could never hurt someone, he just wants to help
                    people."



Envoy denies praising Saudi court system
Ambassador says he never spoke to paper about Canadian
charged in bombing

                    Anne Marie Owens and Jonathon Gatehouse
                   National Post, with files from Southam News

                    Canada's ambassador to Saudi Arabia has denied a newspaper report
                    quoting him as praising the country's judicial system -- as a Canadian faces
                    public beheading for a deadly car bombing.

                    Melvyn MacDonald has called the editor of the Riyadh's daily newspaper to
                    protest the story and has reported the episode to the Department of Foreign
                    Affairs in Ottawa.

                    The story was headlined "Ambassador of Canada lauds and commends
                    justice in the Kingdom and the treatment of the Canadian citizen involved in
                    the two bombings in Riyadh."

                    It appeared two days after Canadian William Sampson, 42, was shown on
                    Saudi television apparently confessing to planting a November car bombing
                    that killed one man.

                    The newspaper said Mr. MacDonald claimed Mr. Sampson had told embassy
                    staff who visited him on Jan. 24 that the Saudis were treating him well and
                    that his trial is "just and fair."

                    The paper also quoted the ambassador as being surprised at such an act
                    being committed by a Canadian.

                    "Ambassador MacDonald noted that criminal acts are unusual to the
                    Canadian society which does not allow such acts. The ambassador also
                    expressed surprise over such acts which shake the feelings of lovers of
                    peace. The ambassador also added that the news of the involvement of a
                    Canadian citizen was a surprise to him," the story said.

                    But Foreign Affairs spokesman Reynald Doiron said: "He never gave the
                    interview, never met the reporter, never talked to him, and never made
                    those comments. In any event, he would never make those comments. It's
                    not his place or position to make such comments."

                    Mr. Sampson, a marketing director at the Saudi Investment Development
                    Fund, a well-known business development agency linked to that
                    government's finance department, and a Briton, Alexander Mitchell, are
                    accused of planting a car bomb that killed Christopher Rodway.

                    They are also alleged to have been involved with a Belgian in another car
                    bombing that is said to involve rival bootlegging operations.

                    Canadian officials in Riyadh have been unable to see Mr. Sampson since
                    Sunday and say they are unable to determine whether his televised
                    confession was real or forced.

                    Yesterday, a British couple who became close friends with Mr. Mitchell during
                    their time in Riyadh, said they do not believe the confession of their former
                    neighbour.

                    Susan Stoiles, a British nurse and her husband, Jack, an operating room
                    technician, said the jovial, outgoing man they know bears little resemblance
                    to the drawn, haggard figure who appeared on their TV screen.

                    "I can't believe that Alex would get involved in anything like that," said Mr.
                    Stoiles from the couple's Manchester home. "It was obvious from his
                    demeanour on TV that he was reading from a prepared statement."

                    Mrs. Stoiles described the cloistered lifestyle of foreigners in the Saudi
                    capital as revolving around illicit alcohol.

                    "It was well known that we all brewed -- we all made beer and wine," she
                    said. "It was only the embassies that had the real stuff."



Public humiliation key to Islamic executions
Law translates as 'path': Guilty are beheaded with a sword outside mosques
Araminta Wordsworth  National Post, with files from news services

                    They are called "chop squares" and in 1999 at least 103 people lost their
                    heads on one.

                    Saudi Arabia's strict shariah law calls for the death penalty -- by beheading
                    -- for murder, rape, armed robbery, drug smuggling, witchcraft and
                    converting to a religion other than Islam. Yesterday, Saudi Arabia said the
                    penalty would be imposed on Canadian William Sampson if he is convicted of
                    the bombing death of a British man in November.

                    The executions are carried out in public, using a sword. Usually they take
                    place on Fridays, though recently the kingdom's executioners have been
                    kept so busy other days have had to be added to the execution calendar.

                    They take place outside mosques across Saudi Arabia, after the morning's
                    obligatory prayers, in order to provide the maximum shaming for the
                    victims. The atmosphere is one of spectacle, with everyone encouraged to
                    attend.

                    Women are executed, so are any youths old enough to have gone through
                    puberty. A large proportion of those killed are foreigners.

                    The kingdom has been following the "path" (the literal meaning of shariah)
                    since 1932, long before nations such as Nigeria and Afghanistan decided to
                    adopt Islamic law.

                    Shariah is derived from the Qur'an, the holy book of Islam, and the Sunna,
                    the teaching and deeds of the Prophet Muhammad. It also incorporates the
                    consensus of the Ulema (religious scholars) and legal analogy.

                    Crimes against the person are covered in the section of the law known as
                    Quesas (the other section encompasses worship and ritual duties). These
                    crimes include varying degrees of murder and assault.

                    Public execution is the mandated punishment for murder, with the family of
                    the victim being allowed to take part, striking a "death blow" against the
                    perpetrator. However, the family also has the right to waive punishment
                    altogether or ask for diya, blood money.

                    This is what happened in the case of Lucille McLauchlin and Deborah Parry,
                    two British nurses convicted of murdering a colleague in 1998 and looting her
                    bank account. Their sentences were commuted and they were allowed to
                    return home after the diya was paid.

                    Their case attracted international diplomatic and media attention. Many of
                    the foreigners executed do not have this advantage, nor do ordinary Saudis.

                    Saudi officials say the country's laws are fair and allow suspects all their
                    rights.

                    International human rights organizations say prisoners in the kingdom are
                    routinely held incommunicado and prevented from contacting relatives or
                    lawyers. They are also maltreated while in custody.

                    Amnesty International quotes the case of Roger Cortez, a Filipino who was
                    arrested on murder charges and held in jail for two years. His interrogators
                    slapped his ears and pushed his face against the wall, says a report by the
                    human rights organization. He was also beaten and kicked while wearing
                    handcuffs and shackles, and threatened with a baseball bat.

                    The precise nature of the charges against him and his sentence were
                    unclear. Eventually he was released, after receiving 250 lashes.

                    At least 103 people were executed in 1999 (the latest year for which figures
                    are available).

                    The executions were for various crimes including murder, rape and drug
                    smuggling. More than half -- 64-- of those executed were foreigners,
                    including 15 from Pakistan and 10 from Nigeria. At least three women, all
                    Nigerians, suffered the death penalty.

                    Mohammad bin Abdullah al-Hajji was one of the lucky ones. The 70-year-old
                    Saudi was condemned to death for murder and was to be executed in
                    October.

                    He was actually being led out to face the executioner when his victim's two
                    sons pardoned him.



Victim's father seeks 'an eye for an eye'
Canadian stands accused:
Grieving Briton would have power to spare lives -- or not
Anne Marie Owens, with files from Siobhan Roberts
National Post, with files from Reuters and Agence France-Presse

                    The man who may ultimately have the power of life and death over a
                    Canadian accused in a car bombing in Saudi Arabia yesterday called for the
                    death penalty in the case.

                    Under Islamic law, Jerry Rodway, whose son Christopher was killed in the
                    blast last year, could have the final say on the fate of the men who have
                    confessed to the fatal attack, including Canadian William Sampson.

                    "You can't go around blasting people to bits and get away with it. All I want is
                    the perpetrators to be brought to justice and to suffer, and not be allowed to
                    live anymore," Mr. Rodway said from his home in Salisbury, England.

                    "My feelings have always been for the death penalty ... Certain countries
                    have certain ways of doing things. I've always believed in an eye for an eye,
                    a tooth for a tooth."

                    Under Islamic law, or shariah, convicted murderers are publicly beheaded in
                    Saudi Arabia. However, it is up to the victim's family to demand an
                    execution, spare the life of the murderers, or ask for blood money in
                    exchange for freedom.

                    Mr. Sampson, 42, a Canadian economist, and Alexander Mitchell, an English
                    hospital worker, were shown on Saudi television on Sunday confessing to the
                    killing of Christopher Rodway.

                    Mr. Sampson, who is single and lives alone in Riyadh, has been working in
                    the city for about five years as a marketing consultant for the Saudi
                    Industrial Development Fund, which provides loans to industrial ventures.

                    Canada has expressed concern over a three-week delay between the arrest
                    of Mr. Sampson and his receiving a visit from Canadian diplomats in Riyadh.

                    Denis Paradis, parliamentary secretary to John Manley, the Minister of
                    Foreign Affairs, told the House of Commons: "We have impressed the Saudi
                    authorities, both here and in Riyadh, with the need to respect international
                    norms in terms of consular access and treatment of detention."

                    Mr. Sampson has been in prison since mid-December, but Canadian
                    authorities only learned of his arrest early last month. Consular officials met
                    with Mr. Sampson on Jan. 27 and were taken by surprise by the televised
                    confessions.

                    "Concern has been expressed over the delay between the arrest and the
                    first consular access," said Reynald Doiron of Foreign Affairs. "To the best of
                    our knowledge, he has not been charged."

                    Mr. Sampson appeared nervous as he made the confession on Saudi
                    television. He and Mr. Mitchell, together with a Belgian man, took turns sitting
                    behind a desk and explaining how they planted explosives in cars and
                    detonated them by remote control.

                    Mr. Mitchell said he and Mr. Sampson carried out the bombing on Nov. 17
                    that killed Mr. Rodway, described as the chief anaesthetist at the military
                    hospital in Riyadh, and injured his wife.

                    Mr. Mitchell said he and Mr. Sampson followed the vehicle to a main
                    thoroughfare and then Mr. Sampson detonated the explosive. The Belgian
                    man, identified by Belgian media as Raf Skivens or Stevens, said he joined
                    them in a similar car bombing five days later that injured several foreigners.

                    Saudi authorities have maintained the motive for the bombings was
                    personal, not political.

                    One of the links between all of the accused men and the victims is believed
                    to be that they all frequented an illegal bar called the Celtic Club.

                    Saudi police, who allegedly found two cases of whisky in a car, have
                    suggested the bombings may have been sparked by rivalries within the
                    expatriate English-speaking community in Riyadh.

                    Police also investigated Michael Sedlak, an American who worked for Vinnell
                    Corp., a company that uses former U.S. army officers to train the Saudi
                    National Guard and is believed to have links with the Central Intelligence
                    Agency. James Baker III, former U.S. secretary of state, was a partner in
                    the company.

                    John Tackaberry, a spokesman for Amnesty International Canada, said the
                    Saudi Arabian justice system suffers from serious flaws, including its reliance
                    on confessions that are often coerced.

                    "The criminal justice system there puts inordinate emphasis on people
                    confessing. And often they are extracted under torture," he said. The country
                    often uses public confessions in high-profile incidents to convince the
                    populace the crime has been solved, he said.

                    Christopher Rodway's father conceded the televised confessions seemed "a
                    little bit weird," and said it was disturbing for him to watch the men explain
                    how they detonated the car that killed his son.



Saudi dragnet targets foreigners
In custody for months: Attacks were initially blamed on
anti-West political extremists    February 5, 2001
                    Anne Marie Owens, National Post
 

                    A Canadian economics graduate working in
                    Saudi Arabia made a televised confession
                    yesterday to being involved in two bombings
                    last year that killed a British hospital worker
                    and injured several others.

                    William Sampson, who has a PhD in
                    economics and was working as a marketing
                    consultant for the Saudi Industrial
                    Development Fund, was one of three
                    foreigners who appeared on Saudi television
                    yesterday, nervously confessing to the highly
                    publicized car bombings in November.

                    "I confirm and confess that I received orders
                    to carry out the bombing here in Riyadh on
                    Nov. 17 against Christopher Rodway, a British
                    citizen," said a man who identified himself as
                   Alexander Mitchell, from Britain. "William
                    Sampson, a Canadian, helped me carry out
                    the bombing," Mr. Mitchell said, according to
                    an Arabic voiceover of his remarks.

                    Mr. Sampson was quoted as saying, "Mitchell
                    asked me to prepare a second explosion with
                    the help of Raf Skivens, a Belgian. The date
                    of this explosion was set for Wednesday, Nov.
                    22."

                    A spokesman for Canada's Foreign Affairs
                    Department confirmed that Mr. Sampson, 42,
                    was arrested for his involvement in the
                    bombings and has been in custody since
                    November.

                    Consular officials met with Mr. Sampson for
                    the first time last week, said Ossanah Tamim,
                    a spokesman for Foreign Affairs, who said Mr.
                    Sampson's family has not allowed authorities
                    to reveal more details.

                    Canada's ambassador to Saudi Arabia said he will pursue the allegations.

                    Foreign Affairs officials declined to speculate on how much plausibility to
                    attach to the televised confessions or whether Saudi Arabian authorities
                    might have orchestrated them.

                    According to the confessions, the initial car bombing, which killed Mr. Rodway
                    and injured his wife, was carried out by Mr. Mitchell and Mr. Sampson.

                    Mr. Skivens said he joined them in the Nov. 22 bombing, which injured four
                    foreign workers, after overhearing the two men discuss the first blast. In all,
                    at least nine foreigners have been implicated in the attacks.

                    The men described how they planted the explosives in the two cars and used
                    remote control devices to detonate them. They did not say who ordered the
                    bombings.

                    The confessions are the latest dramatic turn in a story that has implicated
                    people from the United States, Canada, England, Scotland and Lebanon, and
                    shocked the closely-knit community of foreigners in the Saudi Arabian
                    capital.

                    At about 1:20 p.m. on Nov. 17, a bomb lifted and tore apart the vehicle
                    being driven by the Rodways through the centre of the commercial district.

                    Mr. Rodway, a 47-year-old technician working at the Royal Military Hospital
                    in Riyadh, was killed instantly. His wife, Jane, 50, was treated for superficial
                    injuries. The couple had been living in Saudi Arabia for eight years.

                    The bombing, which police said was caused by a device planted aboard the
                    vehicle and destroyed in the midday blast, came just hours before Crown
                    Prince Abdullah was to open a global oil conference in the city attended by
                    the American secretary of energy and powerful representatives of more than
                    40 oil-producing and consuming countries.

                    On Nov. 22, an English couple and an Irish woman were injured in another
                    car bombing in the capital. Three weeks later, a car bombing in the city of
                    al-Khobar left a Scottish man blind in one eye.

                    At first, the bombings were put down to the anger of extremists about the
                    increasing presence of Westerners, who are often seen as a corrupting
                    influence in Saudi Arabia, and those angry about Western support for Israel.

                    Before long, however, there were rumours about a personally motivated plot
                    involving illicit alcohol, sex and betrayal.

                    Michael Sedlak, the American arrested as the prime suspect in the scheme,
                    is alleged to have been involved in a liquor-smuggling plot and an altercation
                    with one of the accused British men over an affair with a married woman.

                    A Saudi legal report alleges Mr. Rodway knew about the alcohol smuggling
                    activities and threatened to inform the authorities.

                    Prince Nayef, the Saudi Interior Minister, said nine people "from different
                    nationalities" were under arrest for illegal activities and were still being
                    investigated.

                    Before the confessions were aired, he said yesterday that the kingdom was
                    aware of who may have been behind the bombings and provided the
                    explosives.

                    "I would like to assert that the source of the explosives and many other facts
                    is known to us, but for the interest of the investigation we decided not to
                    reveal that now," Prince Nayef said on Saudi Arabian television.



From the Globe and Mail:

Canadian man faces beheading if convicted
Admission of role in Saudi bombings may have been coerced,
rights activists say   By: ALAN FREEMAN AND STEPHANIE NOLEN
With reports from Reuters and Associated Press
                     Tuesday, February 6, 2001

                     LONDON and TORONTO -- A Canadian in
                     prison in Saudi Arabia could face public
                     beheading if he is convicted of playing a role in
                     a bombing that killed another expatriate worker
                     in the kingdom, the Saudi Interior Minister said
                     yesterday.

                     William Sampson, 42, an economist working
                     as a marketing consultant in Riyadh, appeared
                     on Saudi television Sunday night and gave a
                     stilted confession to placing a bomb in the car
                     of Briton Christopher Rodway in November.

                     The men will be subject to Islamic law, Prince
                     Nayef, the Saudi official, insisted.

                     "Do we have anything other than sharia? We
                     don't have a judicial system other than sharia,"
                     the minister, he said in an interview with a
                     Saudi newspaper published yesterday.

                     Islamic law, called sharia in Arabic, sets out a
                     code of punishments that includes execution,
                     often by public beheading, of convicted
                     murderers, rapists and drug smugglers.
                     Adulterers are stoned to death, while thieves
                     have their hands amputated.

                     A Canadian government spokesman said Mr.
                     Sampson was arrested in mid-December, along
                     with a Briton and a Belgian.

                     "We had some difficulties in getting consular
                     access, but that was finally granted last week,"
                     said Reynald Doiron, a spokesman for the
                     Department of Foreign Affairs and
                     International Trade. But the Canadian embassy
                     learned of his confession "like the rest of the
                     world" when the men were shown on
                     television, he said.

                     Officials from Canada, Britain and Belgium
                     hastened to express concern to Saudi
                     authorities after the televised confession.

                     "We've made it known to Riyadh and the
                     authorities here in Ottawa . . . that this is a
                     Canadian and [he] should be treated according
                     to our values," said Denis Paradis,
                     parliamentary undersecretary for foreign
                     affairs. Canada's ambassador in Riyadh will
                     see Mr. Sampson by the end of the week and
                     then file a report, he added.

                     Little has been made public about Mr.
                     Sampson, who is reportedly single and living in
                     Saudi Arabia on his own. Mr. Doiron said
                     Foreign Affairs is in contact with his family in
                     Canada.

                     Mr. Sampson was reportedly working as a
                     marketing consultant with the Saudi Industrial
                     Development Fund, a government agency that
                     provides loans for industrial ventures. He had
                     worked there for about five years.

                     Human-rights organizations expressed concern
                     for the welfare for the three men after their
                     television appearance, in which they appeared
                     nervous and under considerable stress.

                     "Secrecy, torture and unfair trials are the
                     hallmarks of Saudi justice," said Richard
                     Bunting, a spokesman for Amnesty
                     International U.K. "Foreign workers, especially
                     from developing countries, are particularly
                     vulnerable."

                     Amnesty International is concerned that all
                     three accused had been held for long periods
                     of time without access to lawyers or their
                     respective embassies, Mr. Bunting said.

                     John Tackaberry, a spokesman for Amnesty's
                     Canadian wing, also noted that the Saudis have
                     "a past record of coercing people into giving
                     confessions."

                     Mr. Sampson delivered his confession in an
                     unemotional tone, as if he had memorized it.

                     "I detonated an explosive device using a
                     remote-control switch. Mr. Mitchell and I then
                     headed south," he said in English.

                     Briton Alexander Mitchell said he and Mr.
                     Sampson carried out the bombing that killed
                     Mr. Rodway and injured his wife. Mr. Mitchell
                     said he was involved, with Mr. Sampson and
                     the Belgian, in a second bombing a week later,
                     injuring three Britons and an Irish woman.

                     The men said they had received orders to
                     carry out the bombings, but did not say who
                     gave the orders or why. Prince Nayef said the
                     explosives used were smuggled into the
                     kingdom and assembled by experts. He
                     provided no further details.

                     Mr. Sampson, a bearded man with blondish
                     hair, was seated at a desk while he made the
                     confession. He looked to be in good physical
                     condition.

                     Stephen Jakobi, chairman and founder of Fair
                     Trials Abroad, which lobbies on behalf of
                     Europeans arrested abroad, said all signs point
                     to the men being intimidated into confessing to
                     crimes they did not commit.

                     "They all looked a bit glassy-eyed," Mr. Jakobi
                     said. "The stiltedness, the general sort of
                     hesitation and reading from prepared scripts
                     reminded me of the [Persian] gulf war
                     episodes when Allied pilots appeared on Iraqi
                     TV and when they came back, we knew they
                     had been tortured and brainwashed."

                     Mr. Jakobi said he expects the men were
                     subject to long, tag-team interrogations and
                     were presented with a series of promises and
                     threats if they confessed.

                     Arresting Europeans for the killing of Mr.
                     Rodway in November is "terribly convenient"
                     for the Saudi government, and a much more
                     desirable outcome than finding that the incident
                     was the act of Saudi terrorists determined to
                     reduce Western influence in the kingdom, he
                     added.



February 13, 2001
Days of fear for mother of Saudi suspect
'I would turn myself inside out to help'
Ian Bailey and Anne Marie Owens, National Post

                    VANCOUVER - The mother of a Canadian man facing the death penalty
                    in Saudi Arabia for a car bombing says she would do anything to help
                    her son out of his troubles.

                    "I would turn myself inside out to help him. I don't know what else to
                    say," Barbara Sampson said yesterday from her home in Vancouver.
                    "I love him with all my heart and would do anything in the world to
                    help him. That's all I feel free to say."

                    Mrs. Sampson was emotional about the plight of her son and
                    overwhelmed by her inability to help. She burst into tears outside her
                    home yesterday when asked about her son.

                    William Sampson is one of a group of foreigners implicated in car
                    bombings that killed one and injured five in November.

                    Mr. Sampson, who is 42 and had been living in Riyadh while working
                    for the Saudi Industrial Development Fund, appeared on Saudi
                    television last week making a nervous confession to the bombings.

                    In the confession, Mr. Sampson and a Briton admitted to carrying out
                    the bombing that killed Christopher Rodway, a British hospital worker,
                    and injured his wife. The two men and a Belgian man said they were
                    involved in a second blast that injured three Britons and an Irish
                    woman.

                    Under Saudi law, Mr. Sampson could be publicly beheaded if
                    convicted.

                    Mrs. Sampson, who has been divorced from her son's father for a long
                    time, had not seen her son since he was 17. She apparently learned
                    of her son's arrest from watching the news reports of his confession
                    on television.

                    She has since been in contact with the federal Department of Foreign
                    Affairs.

                    James Sampson, her former husband and Mr. Sampson's father, lives
                    in White Rock, B.C., and has visited his son in Saudi Arabia.

                    The family lived in Vancouver when Mr. Sampson was young and sent
                    him to St. George's School, a prestigious private school for boys in the
                    city. It is strongly academic and university oriented with strict entry
                    standards.

                    Beside his graduation photo in the 1976 issue of The Georgian, the
                    school's yearbook, Mr. Sampson indicated his interests as "army,
                    reading, living," and said his ambition was either medicine or the
                    army.

                    His teenage idols were Otto von Bismarck, considered to be the
                    founder of the German empire; Winston Churchill, the wartime British
                    prime minister; and Evelyn Waugh, the satirical English writer best
                    known for Brideshead Revisited.

                    Mrs. Sampson was concerned about the consequences of speaking
                    out on her son's situation in Saudi Arabia and declined further
                    comment.

                    Relatives of the family in England said they believe Mr. Sampson was
                    forced into making his confession.

                    The Canadian ambassador to Saudi Arabia met with Saudi officials
                    over the weekend to stress the concern that Mr. Sampson be dealt
                    with in a civilized manner.

                    Prince Nayef, the country's Interior Minister, promised consular
                    officials they would be allowed a visit with Mr. Sampson very soon.

                    Mr. Sampson has been in custody since mid-December. Canadian
                    embassy officials met with him shortly after learning of his arrest in
                    January but have been unable to see him since his televised
                    confession.

                    Salah Al-Hejailan, a Saudi lawyer who represented two British nurses
                    who escaped the death penalty after they were convicted for the
                    murder of an Australian woman in the kingdom, said his firm would be
                    happy to take on the case of the Westerners implicated in the
                    bombing plot.

                    He said the televised confessions are unusual. He also said that even
                    if the case "appears to be undefendable, there are always ways of
                    asking for mercy and consideration and lenient punishment."
 
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