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 News reports on William Sampson.  Detained by
Saudi authorities since Dec 2000 without charges !
                       May 29, 2001 - National Post, with files from Reuters
      MD confirms Sampson beaten
            Saudis deny abuse: Manley says he's 'very concerned,'
            Alliance wants royal visit to be cancelled
                    Francine Dubé - National Post, with files from Reuters

                    Bill Sampson was beaten, concluded a British doctor who examined
                    him yesterday in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, where the Canadian citizen is
                    being held without charge in connection with a fatal car bombing.

                    William Sampson, Mr. Sampson's cousin in Britain, said he received
                    the results of the medical examination last night.

                    "It's official that he's been beaten. He has a wedge fracture of the
                    vertebra, severe bruises to his arms and legs, his feet were badly
                    beaten and he has superficial scratches to his wrists," he said.

                    Since his imprisonment in December, Mr. Sampson has twice been
                    hospitalized for operations to open blocked arteries from his heart.
                    Canadian authorities demanded an independent examination after he
                    was hospitalized on May 17 with suspect injuries that the Saudis
                    attributed to a failed suicide attempt.

                    The Sampson case, which has dragged on for six months, is
                    threatening to turn into a diplomatic row. In the House of Commons
                    yesterday, Monte Solberg, the Canadian Alliance foreign affairs critic,
                    demanded that Canada protest Mr. Sampson's treatment by
                    cancelling a visit to Ottawa by Crown Prince Abdullah in June to open
                    an embassy. He also demanded the recall of Canada's ambassador to
                    Saudi Arabia.

                    "We have to protest in the strongest possible terms what obviously is
                    torture," Mr. Solberg said. "I think we should demand his release to
                    Canadian authorities, given the fact that the Saudis can't guarantee
                    his protection."

                    Denis Paradis, parliamentary undersecretary for foreign affairs,
                    replied that Ottawa would wait for the medical report before deciding
                    what to do next. However, a source said Foreign Affairs had the
                    results in hand yesterday morning.

                    William Sampson echoed Mr. Solberg's demand for the recall of
                    Canada's ambassador, and if necessary an end to all Canadian-Saudi
                    diplomatic relations.

                    John Manley, Canada's Foreign Affairs Minister, speaking from
                    Belgrade on a four-day tour of the Balkans, said he was "very
                    concerned" over reports of the beating.

                    In a press release issued yesterday afternoon, he said he spoke with
                    Mohammed Al-Hussaini, the Saudi ambassador to Canada, on May 24
                    to express shock at the allegations.

                    "He said he didn't know about it and didn't know Sampson had been
                    hospitalized," Mr. Manley said. Reached in Ottawa, Mr. Al-Hussaini
                    denied the allegations of physical abuse.

                    "It's against our religion, it's against our tradition, we don't do it," he
                    said. "Our laws don't allow it."

                    Mr. Manley said he asked the ambassador to ensure that Mr.
                    Sampson is 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.

                    Mr. Al-Hussaini said he forwarded the requests to the Saudi

                    Bill Sampson is one of several foreigners being held in connection with
                    two car bombings in Riyadh, the capital of Saudi Arabia, in November.
                    One man was killed and five people were injured in the blasts.

                    The independent medical examination took place yesterday. Canada's
                    ambassador to Saudi Arabia also visited Mr. Sampson, but a report
                    will not be available until later this week, a spokesman for Foreign
                    Affairs said.

                    John Tackaberry, a spokesman for Amnesty International Canada,
                    said he was not surprised to learn of the beating.

                    "There are essentially no safeguards in place to ensure they aren't
                    extracting information for confessions," he said of the criminal justice
                    system in the Muslim kingdom.

                    Canada should protest the treatment of Mr. Sampson in the strongest
                    possible terms, especially given the fact that Saudi Arabia is a
                    signatory to the Geneva Convention, which protects the rights of
                    prisoners, Mr. Tackaberry said.

                    Since the arrest of the foreigners, there have been several other
                    bombings in Saudi Arabia. The leader in the U.K. of an Islamic
                    fundamentalist movement has said he believes the Westerners are
                    innocent and fundamentalists opposed to any foreign presence in the
                    Muslim nation are to blame.

                    Saudi authorities believe the bombings are linked to the illegal liquor
                    trade in the country.

                    At the time of his arrest, Mr. Sampson was in Riyadh working for the
                    Saudi Industrial Development Fund, a Saudi government agency that
                    provides loans to industrial ventures.

                                         May 28, 2001 -  National Post
             Exclusive: Sampson kin fear torture in Saudi jail
          Crushed vertebra raises suspicions
                                        Francine Dubé - National Post
Bill Sampson is shown above in a 1988 climbing trip in Europe with his father, James.
The Saudis are said to attribute Bill Sampson's recent injuries to a suicide attempt,
but a cousin says that does not ring true. "There's no way whatsoever that Billy would do this," the cousin says.
The Associated Press  -  Bill Sampson is shown on Saudi television in January.
He is accused of participating in two car bombings.
       A Canadian being held without charge in Saudi Arabia in connection with a fatal
       bombing is being tortured in jail, his family and Canadian diplomats fear,
       following his admission to hospital with suspicious injuries.

       Bill Sampson, 43, was hospitalized on May 17. He is suffering from a crushed
       vertebra, trauma to his feet and scratches on his wrists, according to
       Martin Mayfield, a doctor and trusted family friend in Britain.

       Saudi authorities told the family that Mr. Sampson's injuries resulted from a suicide
       attempt, said Dr. Mayfield. But he does not believe it: "I don't know how a man
       could do that to himself in a prison cell," he said.

       Carl Schwenger, a Canadian foreign affairs spokesman, confirmed that Mr.
       Sampson was transferred to hospital, and today, Canada's ambassador, a
       consular representative and a doctor chosen by Canadian authorities will visit
       him to assess his injuries.

       A well-placed source said Canadian consular officials privately express
       concern that Mr. Sampson might have been beaten by his jailers.

                    Mr. Sampson's cousin, William Sampson, who lives in a suburb of
                    Liverpool, said yesterday that Bill would never attempt to take his
                    own life. "There's no way whatsoever that Billy would do this," he
                    said, adding that he is "absolutely sure" the injuries were a result of

                    "We are all horrified, considering Saudi Arabia as a country has
                    signed the Geneva Convention on treatment of prisoners," said
                    William. "If the United Nations have this Geneva Convention to stop
                    people from being tortured and Saudi Arabia is a signatory of their
                    convention and they do not carry out the precepts of this convention
                    that they have signed, then I feel it's bloody tragic. They are the ones
                    who signed it. No one coerced the Saudis into signing this."

                    Mohammed Al-Hussaini, the Saudi ambassador to Canada, could not
                    be reached for comment. But in a statement issued in February, he
                    said the foreigners arrested in connection with the bombings would
                    receive fair trials. "If they are innocents they have nothing to fear,"
                    Mr. Al-Hussaini said.

                    Mr. Sampson has lost 20 kilograms since he was imprisoned.

                    Dr. Mayfield believes the two heart operations Mr. Sampson has
                    undergone since March could have been caused by the stress of his
                    imprisonment. Two angioplasties have been performed to open
                    arteries pumping blood from his heart, although Mr. Sampson had
                    always been fit and athletic and had no history of heart disease.

                    Studies on soldiers have shown that a combination of malnutrition
                    and poor living conditions can induce heart trouble, said Dr. Mayfield.

                    Mr. Sampson's father, James Sampson, 70, of White Rock, B.C.,
                    recently returned from a trip to Riyadh to visit his son and settle his

                    The Saudis allowed him to visit his son twice. Bill Sampson seemed in
                    strong spirits at the time, his father said then. He declined to
                    comment on his son's latest injuries.

                    "It tears your heart out," said Angela Clarke, a family friend in B.C.,
                    who says the normally cheerful and outgoing Mr. Sampson is showing
                    the strain of his son's long incarceration. "His friends are all
                    devastated and praying for the immediate release of his son, Billy."

                    Mr. Sampson had been in Riyadh working for the Saudi Industrial
                    Development Fund, a Saudi government agency that provides loans
                    to industrial ventures.

                    He has been in custody since December after being accused, along
                    with several other foreigners working in Riyadh, of participating in two
                    car bombings last November that killed Christopher Rodway, a British
                    hospital worker, and injured his wife and four others.

                    The bombings have been linked to an alleged feud within the
                    expatriate community in the Saudi capital over the illegal liquor trade.
                    If convicted, Mr. Sampson could be beheaded under the laws of the
                    Muslim kingdom.

                    Since the arrest of Mr. Sampson and the other Westerners, there
                    have been several other bomb attacks in Riyadh.

                    Amnesty International has singled out Saudi Arabia as part of its
                    global campaign against torture. The human rights organization says
                    Saudi Arabia has put to death more than 1,100 people in the past 20
                    years, using coercion, deception and torture to elicit confessions from

                    But Ambassador Al-Hussaini said in February that Mr. Sampson's case
                    will be presented to the High Sharia Court, the High Court of Appeal,
                    then the Supreme Judicial Council. Finally, experts with the Royal
                    Court will review the case, and in the event of a conviction, the
                    assigned punishment.

                    Mr. Sampson's televised "confession," which aired on television in
                    January, will not be evidence against him unless it is repeated in front
                    of the judges.

                    "I would once again assert," he said, "that at no stage would the
                    judicial system in Saudi Arabia pay any attention to any confessions
                    unless they are given freely and voluntarily in front of the court."

                         Sampson in chains
                            Commentary May 29, 2001 -  National Post

                    Last December, Bill Sampson, a Canadian citizen working as a
                    marketing consultant, was arrested in Saudi Arabia, a member of the
                    United Nations Human Rights Commission. Five months later, he
                    remains in custody although no charges have been laid against him.
                    Twelve days ago, Mr. Sampson was admitted to hospital for the third
                    time. Despite having no previous heart problems, the physically fit
                    43-year-old man has undergone two cardiac surgeries and lost 20
                    kilograms while in jail. Even more alarming is the opinion of the
                    Canadian-appointed doctor who visited Mr. Sampson yesterday that
                    the crushed vertebra and hand and foot injuries for which he was
                    taken to hospital are the result of a savage beating.

                    Although Saudi authorities attribute the injuries to a suicide attempt,
                    this is little reason to believe them. Aside from the specific evidence of
                    the doctor in this case, there is the general understanding, for which
                    human rights groups have amassed a weight of evidence, that
                    torture is widespread in Saudi prisons, and confessions are routinely
                    wrung from suspects through its use. Amnesty International is
                    conducting an anti-torture campaign against Saudi Arabia which, it
                    says, is a society characterized by "the virtual absence of the rule of
                    law." Detainees are "held incommunicado and defendants [are]
                    denied the right of access to a lawyer, the right to a defence, and the
                    right to appeal."

                    Canadian consular officials were not permitted to visit Mr. Sampson
                    until a month after he was arrested and taken into custody, and even
                    then, contrary to usual international practice, the meeting was
                    monitored by Saudi officials who would not allow any discussion of Mr.
                    Sampson's alleged crimes. The Saudi government did not give
                    Canadian officials any warning before it televised a videotape in
                    which Mr. Sampson -- along with one British and one Belgian man --
                    confessed to participating in two November, 2000, car bombings in
                    Riyadh that killed one person and injured four others. (The video
                    shows the three haggard, possibly drugged men woodenly reading
                    from a prepared script. Although they mention no motive, the men
                    claim on the video to have been acting on instructions from an
                    unknown third party.)

                    Despite the warm relations Saudi Arabia has long enjoyed with
                    Canada, and despite the fact that it has sought our support for its
                    entry into the World Trade Organization, Saudi officials appear
                    indifferent to any diplomatic overtures so far undertaken on Mr.
                    Sampson's behalf. Under both Canadian and Saudi Arabian law, Mr.
                    Sampson remains innocent of any crime; he has not even been
                    charged, let alone convicted.

                    The fact that he has been beaten -- let us not mince words, it is
                    torture -- is an outrage that brings shame upon Saudi Arabia. More
                    important, it is a cause of grave concern in Canada, and should spark
                    immediate action by Ottawa. The highest duty of civilized democratic
                    government is to protect its citizens. This duty does not stop at
                    Canada's borders. Ottawa must step in, determinedly and effectively,
                    to prevent any further mistreatment of Mr. Sampson by the Saudis.
                    Jean Chrétien's government must use all diplomatic means at its
                    disposal to persuade and if necessary compel Riyadh to treat this
                    Canadian decently.
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