News About William Sampson's Release

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                        Fri, August 8, 2003
                       Sampson tested by torture, deprivation

                     By STEPHEN THORNE
                      Canuck released from Saudi jail savours freedom
                      Saudis behead two foreign drug smugglers

                     (CP) - William Sampson is a "stubborn bugger" who confounded and challenged his
                     parents and teachers alike as a child, his father says.

                     One of his favourite teachers used to lie awake nights worrying
                     that Sampson's parents would call because he'd beaten their son with a knotted rope for
                     misbehaving. But young Billy never complained. "He thought that guy was
                     the bee's knees," James Sampson, a former RAF navigator living in
                     Vancouver, recalled last year.

                     "Bill knew when he was asking for trouble and he'd take his lumps and
                     he wouldn't complain about it.

                     "But you had to let him know you weren't joking, that this was the way
                     things were going to be."

                     Sampson's stubbornness and ability to absorb punishment would be
                     severely tested many years later in Saudi Arabia where the
                     pharmaceutical engineer was arrested for a deadly car bombing that
                     authorities in the strictly Muslim country say was linked to alcohol
                     black-marketeering.

                     Now 44, Sampson has just been released from a Saudi prison after
                     more than two brutal years in solitary confinement marked by torture
                     and deprivation.

                     Before being convicted and sentenced to beheading, his lawyer says,
                     Sampson was forced to confess after police beat him, hung him upside
                     down, kept him awake for more than a week and threatened to harm
                     his family.

                     For two years, he was not allowed to read or write and was even
                     denied crayons and a calculator his father sent him.

                     Meanwhile, bombings aimed at westerners continued - believed to be
                     the work of Muslim extremists.

                     The treatment Sampson endured in prison appeared to push him over
                     the edge at times. He often rejected medical attention and refused to
                     see his lawyers or Canadian officials and even the man he considered
                     his best friend - his father.

                     He continually abused his guards verbally and threw things around his
                     cell, leading prison officials to question his mental health.

                     "He's been doing that for two years," said his cousin, also named
                     William Sampson. "That's not called mentally ill, that's called being a
                     sod, which my cousin has down to a T and has had since he was a
                     small boy.

                     "Put yourself in his position: he's been arrested, he's been tortured,
                     he's been hospitalized on numerous occasions and then they turn
                     around and say he's mentally ill because he throws things around his
                     cell."

                     When Liberal MP Don Boudria visited Sampson, the man refused to
                     speak to him at first.

                     Boudria recalled: "When I introduced the Canadian ambassador, then
                     he started to speak and his first words were: 'I am not a Canadian.' Of
                     course, he was there on a Canadian passport and his parents live in
                     British Columbia."

                     Boudria asked Sampson if he could intercede on his behalf with
                     another embassy.

                     "I'm a British subject but that's not going to do me any good because
                     they won't help me either," Sampson replied.

                     James Sampson said his son is "a stubborn bugger" who was defying
                     the Saudis with his erratic behaviour. And James Sampson was the
                     victim of some of that behaviour.

                     During their last visit, William Sampson shouted at his father to leave
                     his cell and even pushed him away. The elder Sampson said he wasn't
                     sure why his son reacted violently but speculated it was out of concern
                     for his safety.

                     Born April 17, 1959, at Soldiers Memorial Hospital in Middleton, N.S.,
                     William Sampson came to know the world at a young age.

                     When he was eight years old, a teacher in Halifax alerted his mother
                     that they were having a problem with young Billy - he'd been telling
                     stories of going to school in a bamboo hut, of jungle treks and
                     shooting snakes.

                     "Well, yes," Barbara June Sampson told her, "those things are true."

                     "The teacher formed the opinion that the mother was a head case as
                     well," said James, who'd taken his family to Scotland and Singapore for
                     six years before returning as an Air Canada pilot to Montreal and then
                     Vancouver.

                     In Grade 9 at Vancouver's Athlone boarding school, Bill was a regular
                     at Saturday morning detentions. His father looked upon them as a 10
                     per cent bonus to the hefty school fees he was paying.

                     Once, his boy was in for not doing his work. About mid-morning, James
                     Sampson got a call from the headmaster. Bill was refusing to
                     co-operate and the headmaster was seeking permission to keep him
                     through lunch.

                     "About 4 o'clock, I got another call. It was the headmaster again. He
                     said 'Bill still hasn't done his work; can we keep him in this evening?
                     We'll give him something to eat.' So I said OK."

                     About 9 p.m., the headmaster called again to say Bill had finally done
                     his work.

                     The following week, he was picking up his son at school when the
                     headmaster approached him.

                     "Mr. Sampson, we're very pleased at the way you backed us up on
                     Saturday with Bill," he said.

                     "Thank you," replied his father. "But you've got to realize something:
                     we are in this together, you and I. If we don't maintain a united front,
                     not only will he be running your bloody school but he'll be running my
                     home."

                     "And that was true," his father says now. "Every sort of weakness, and
                     he'd exploit it."

                     At 16, Bill made a "mistake" about his age and joined the Seaforth
                     Highlanders militia in Vancouver, whose minimum age was 17. He
                     stayed on for 18 months, wearing a kilt and participating in summer
                     exercises.

                     "He was very proud," said his father. "It meant a lot to him because he
                     felt he belonged in the regiment. It was damn good for him."

                     William Sampson's parents split up when he was 17. Bill never married.
                     He dropped out of the University of Toronto and went away to school,
                     earning a B.Sc. at London University and a PhD in biochemistry and
                     an MBA at Edinburgh University.

                     He's worked in Scotland and Switzerland and in 1998 went to Saudi
                     Arabia to work as a pharmaceutical and fine-chemical advisor with the
                     Saudi Industrial Development Fund.

                     In 1999, William and James took a four-wheel drive into the desert and
                     followed T.E. Lawrence's route along the old Hejez railway between
                     Damascus and Mecca where Lawrence wreaked havoc on the
                     Ottoman Turks who had ruled the Arab world for centuries.

                     They've also climbed mountains together and in 1989 William
                     Sampson saved the life of his father - who would reciprocate years
                     later by fighting fiercely for his son's life - after the elder Sampson fell
                     into a crevasse in Switzerland.

                     "He held me on the rope. It scared the living Jesus out of me.

                     "He could see I was bloody worried and scared. He just touched me on
                     the knee and said: 'Don't worry Dad, I'll get you down.' And he did." 


  Canadian William Sampson, 5 Britons freed from Saudi jail after 2 years

Canadian Press - Friday, August 08, 2003

                   LONDON (CP) - The plane said to be carrying Canadian William Sampson
                   and five Britons who were freed after being jailed in Saudi Arabia for two car
                   bombings arrived at Heathrow Airport on Friday.

                   A cousin was waiting to meet Sampson, who had been sentenced to death
                   along with Alexander Mitchell of Britain after bombings in Saudi Arabia,
                   including one blast in late 2000 that killed another British man.

                   But he appeared to be out of harm's way Friday after being granted clemency by
                   the Saudi royalty.

                   "My husband's on the way to pick him up at the airport," Jan Sampson said
                   by telephone from Liverpool, England. She is married to Sampson's
                   cousin, also named William.

                   The federal government confirmed Sampson's release Friday and Foreign
                   Affairs Minister Bill Graham was to make a statement later.

                   Sampson's family said they planned to celebrate his
                   release if Sampson felt strong enough for such an event.

                   "If he says he wants a party he can have one; it depends how he
                   feels," Jan Samspon said.

                   The family believes Sampson was tortured during his two-year prison
                   stay. It has medical obtained records suggesting he was beaten, Jan
                   Sampson said.

                   Although the prisoners were originally shown on Saudi television
                   confessing to the attacks, they subsequently retracted those
                   statements.

                   Their families said they were tortured and tricked into making the
                   admission, and that the bombings were actually carried out by militants
                   in Saudi Arabia.

                   The other Britons arrested were given long prison sentences.

                   Sampson's Saudi law firm praised the monarch of the conservative
                   kingdom, King Fahd, for his act of mercy.

                   "The law firm of Salah Al-Hejailan acknowledges the merciful action
                   taken by the ruler of the kingdom of Saudi Arabia, King Fahd bin
                   Abdulaziz Al-Saud," the firm said in a statement.

                   "The grant of clemency is even more remarkable considering the
                   severity of the punishment all the accused were facing."

                   The case is being touted as somewhat of a legal landmark for Saudi
                   Arabia, known for its harsh treatment of prisoners and strict application
                   of Muslim law.

                   It is the first-ever Saudi case where the right to legal counsel in criminal
                   matters has been respected, the Salah Al-Hejailan firm said in a
                   statement.

                   Sampson's likely method of execution would have been a public
                   beheading.

                   It is also the first case where Saudi authorities allowed the United
                   Nations and international human-rights groups to monitor the
                   treatment of accused criminals, the law firm added.

                   Sampson's father, who lives in the Vancouver area, had travelled to
                   Saudi Arabia several times and reported that his son's health was
                   deteriorating in captivity.

                   Sampson was born to British parents in Nova Scotia and lived in
                   Canada until his late teens. He then moved to Britain where he
                   attended university.

                   Here is a chronology of events in the William Sampson case:

                   - Feb. 4, 2001: Saudi Interior Minister Prince Nayef issues a statement
                   on state-run Saudi television that a Canadian and two European men
                   are in custody in connection with two explosions - a Nov. 17 car
                   combing that killed a British man and injured his wife, and a Nov. 22 car
                   bomb that injured two men and a woman, all Britons.

                   - Following Nayef's announcement, three men appear on Saudi
                   television and confess to the bombings. The Canadian is identified as
                   William Sampson, 42, an employee of a Saudi government agency that
                   provides loans to industrial ventures.

                   - Canadian Embassy officials in Riyadh say they weren't allowed to see
                   Sampson until Jan. 27. He was arrested in mid-December 2000.

                   - Feb. 6: Foreign Affairs Minister John Manley says Canada has asked
                   Saudi Arabia for additional consular contact with Sampson.

                   - Feb. 11: Canadian ambassador in Riyadh meets with Prince Nayef to
                   discuss case against Sampson. Told the Canadian cannot have legal
                   representation while investigation continues.

                   - March 16: Sampson, complaining of chest pains, is taken from jail to
                   hospital for angioplasty to clear a blocked artery.

                   - April 23: Sampson admitted to hospital again for a blocked artery.

                   - May 10: Sampson's father James, 70, of White Rock, B.C., allowed
                   45-minute visit with his son in Saudi prison.

                   - May 28: Family members and Canadian diplomats say they believe
                   Sampson is being tortured in jail because of visible injuries. Saudi
                   authorities tell the family injuries resulted from a suicide attempt.
                   Ottawa investigated whether Sampson was tortured.

                   - May 31: Saudi Crown Prince Abdullah cancels trip to Ottawa to protest
                   Canadian "meddling" in security operations after inquiries made into
                   Sampson's injuries.

                   2002

                   - Jan 30: British newspaper, the Guardian, says Sampson was part of a
                   group of western pub drinkers falsely accused, imprisoned and in some
                   cases tortured in an official campaign to blame the bombings on
                   feuding bootleggers rather than on Saudi religious extremists.

                   - Feb. 4: Sampson refuses to leave his cell, where he has been in
                   solitary confinement since his arrest, to meet Canadian diplomats. No
                   reason given.

                   - Feb. 28: Saudi newspaper reports that Sampson and six other
                   foreigners have been brought to trial.

                   - April: Ottawa receives report that Sampson has been secretly
                   convicted and sentenced to death in Saudi Arabia and two subsequent
                   appeals were unsuccessful.

                   - Saudi lawyer representing Sampson and other defendants says no
                   trial or conviction have occurred.

                   - May 3: Saudi ambassador to Canada says Sampson has recanted his
                   confession, which will not be used against him by the Supreme Judicial
                   Council, a panel of five judges that will decide his fate.

                   - July 26: Canadian officials say they've received confirmation that
                   Sampson was found guilty and sentenced to death during a secret trial
                   earlier in the year. Ottawa was not told at the time. Saudi lawyers file a
                   final appeal to the country's Supreme Court.

                   - Sept. 23: Mohammed Al-Hussaini, Saudi ambassador to Canada, says
                   a verdict could come "any time ... Soon, I think, you will hear about it.
                   The final verdict."

                   - Sept. 26: Sampson's lawyers release appeal document saying he was
                   deprived of sleep for up to 10 days, punched, tied up, hung upside
                   down and beaten; also threatened that his family would be harmed
                   unless he confessed. Document signed by defence lawyers Ahmed
                   al-Tuwaijiri and Salah al-Hujailan.

                   - Dec. 2: Amnesty International launches campaign to commute
                   Sampson's death sentence.

                   2003

                   - Jan 7: Sampson's future in doubt after one of seven westerners
                   imprisoned in Saudi Arabia on bombing charges dramatically changes
                   his testimony and confesses to the crime.

                   - March 4: Sampson, in prison for more than two years, mostly in
                   solitary confinement, reacts violently to visit from his father, punching
                   him and telling him to leave.

                   - May 17: Eldest son of Christopher Rodway, the Briton killed in car
                   bombing in Riyadh in 2000, officially forgives Sampson and other
                   westerners convicted of the crime. This is an important factor for
                   clemency appeal under Saudi law.

                   - May 18: A lawyer for Sampson and his co-accused files appeal for
                   clemency.

                   - May 22: Saudi Arabia's ambassador to Britain Prince, Turki al-Faisal,
                   suggests Sampson and five Britons could be given some form of
                   clemency.

                   - Aug. 8: Saudi Arabia releases Sampson and five Britons.

                    2003 The Canadian Press


Canadian William Sampson freed from Saudi death row; arrives in Britain
                   KEVIN WARD
- Canadian Press

                   Friday, August 08, 2003

                   LONDON (CP) - Canadian William Sampson, sentenced to death in Saudi Arabia for bombings
                   in 2000 that he denied carrying out, arrived in London Friday with five British co-accused after
                   Saudi authorities granted them clemency and freed them from prison.

                   The men were taken off a commercial flight at Heathrow Airport behind screens that obscured them
                   from view. They boarded a van and were driven away to an undisclosed location,
                   bypassing normal arrival formalities.

                   A passenger on board the plane said the men, along with about 10 accompanying officials, sat
                   in the economy section. There was nothing unusual about the group except that they boarded the
                   plane last in Saudi Arabia and got off first in London - all other passengers were held on board
                   until they alighted, he said.

                   In Canada, Foreign Affairs Minister Bill Graham confirmed the release of Sampson from captivity.
                   "This marks the end of an extremely difficult period for Mr. Sampson and his family," the minister
                   said.

                   "Let's hear what he says about conditions of his incarceration and let's
                   look at what we can do to make sure all his legal rights are protected,"
                   Graham said outside his Toronto constituency office.

                   Sampson's father James, of White Rock, B.C., met his son at Heathrow
                   Airport, according to a cousin in Britain.

                   "I can only assume his father is once again ecstatic to see that his son
                   is alive and well, connected to his head and in safety and freedom," the
                   cousin, also named William Sampson, said when reached by telephone.
                   He was alluding to the fact that Saudi Arabia's method of execution is
                   beheading.

                   "Their plans are just to be together for a couple of days, just to get
                   used to life outside prison," he told Broadcast News.

                   "My cousin and his father have asked for some peaceful time, without
                   hassles from journalists, to get the last 31 months up to speed ... Billie
                   doesn't know what happened in the World Trade Center. Billie doesn't
                   know there's been a war in Afghanistan. Billie doesn't know there's
                   been a war in Iraq. He's got two years and seven months of his life to
                   catch up on."

                   Asked about Sampson's condition, the cousin replied: "He is in perfect
                   physical health" but declined to say anything about his mental state.

                   Reports in recent months indicated that Sampson, 44, had refused
                   visits from Canadian diplomats and treated visitors poorly after
                   prolonged solidarity confinement in Saudi Arabia.

                   Canadian consulate officials were at the airport to greet Sampson. A
                   spokeswoman told The Associated Press it was unclear "what kind of
                   state" the men were in or what their plans were.

                   Sampson's family had said earlier they would celebrate his release if he
                   felt strong enough. "If he says he wants a party he can have one,"
                   said the cousin's wife, Jan, in Liverpool, England.

                   The family believes Sampson was tortured in prison and has obtained
                   medical records suggesting he was beaten, she said.

                   Sampson and Briton Alexander Mitchell were sentenced to death, while
                   Britons James Lee, James Cottle, Les Walker and Peter Brandon were
                   given prison terms in connection with two bombings in the Saudi
                   capital, Riyadh, in late 2000, in which a Briton, Christopher Rodway,
                   was killed and four other people injured.

                   A sixth Briton, Glenn Ballard, who was detained for 10 months but not
                   charged, also was released Friday.

                   Although the prisoners were shown on Saudi television confessing to
                   involvement in the attacks, they subsequently retracted those
                   statements. Their families said they were tortured and tricked into
                   making the admission, and that the bombings were actually carried out
                   by militants in Saudi Arabia.

                   According to his lawyer, Sampson was forced to confess after police
                   beat him, hung him upside down, kept him awake for more than a
                   week and threatened to harm his family. For two years, he was not
                   allowed to read or write, and was denied crayons and a calculator his
                   father sent him.

                   There have been other bombings in Saudi Arabia after the men's
                   arrests, and Saudi authorities have launched a crackdown on
                   extremists who have carried out violent acts in recent weeks.

                   Sampson's Saudi law firm praised the ruler of the conservative kingdom
                   for sparing the men.

                   "The law firm of Salah Al-Hejailan acknowledges the merciful action
                   taken by the ruler of the kingdom of Saudi Arabia, King Fahd bin
                   Abdulaziz Al-Saud," the firm said in a statement.

                   "The grant of clemency is even more remarkable considering the
                   severity of the punishment all the accused were facing."

                   The clemency was issued two weeks ago but has only just been
                   finalized, their lawyer Salah al-Hujeilan said, speaking to AP from
                   southern France. He said his clients "maintained their position that they
                   are not guilty. This case should now be closed. It is closed from the
                   Saudi point of view."

                   Sampson was born to British parents in Nova Scotia and lived in
                   Canada until his late teens. He then moved to Britain where he
                   attended university. He was employed by a government agency in
                   Saudi Arabia when he was arrested in late 2000.


                   Friday, August 08, 2003

                   LONDON (CP) - Saudi Arabia has released
                   Canadian William Sampson and five Britons jailed in
                   connection with two 2001 car bombings in the kingdom,
                   Sampson's family said Friday.

                   The freed prisoners were on a flight out of Saudi Arabia
                   and were scheduled to arrive at London's Heathrow
                   Airport, where a cousin was waiting to meet Sampson.

                   Sampson was sentenced to death along with Alexander
                   Mitchell of Britain after bombings in Saudi Arabia,
                   including one blast in late 2000 that killed another
                   British man.

                   Sampson, a British-Canadian citizen, appeared to be out of
                   harm's way Friday.

                   "My husband's on the way to pick him up at the airport,"
                   Jan Sampson said by telephone from Liverpool, England. She is married to
                   Sampson's cousin, also named William.

                   Although the prisoners were originally shown on Saudi television confessing
                   to the attacks, they subsequently retracted their confessions.

                   Their families said they were tortured and tricked into making the
                   admission, and that the bombings were actually carried out by militants in
                   Saudi Arabia.

                   The other Britons arrested were given long prison sentences.

                   Sampson's father, who lives in the Vancouver area, had travelled to Saudi
                   Arabia several times and reported that his son's health was deteriorating in
                   captivity.


Canadian William Sampson freed by Saudi Arabia
                  CTV.ca News Staff

                  William Sampson, a Canadian man convicted and
                  sentenced to death in Saudi Arabia for his alleged
                  role in two Riyadh car bombings, has been freed
                  along with five Britons.
                  Sampson arrived at Heathrow Airport on Friday,
                  along with the Britons, just two days after they
                  were granted clemency by King Fahd bin Abdulaziz
                  Al-Saud.
                  He has been in jail since December 2000, when he
                  was detained along with a Briton and a Belgian for a
                  series of bombings late that year. Sampson faced
                  beheading for his alleged role in the attacks.
                  Sampson's father James, who has waged an
                  unrelenting fight for William's release, was there to
                  meet his son when he stepped off the plane.
                  A cousin, also named William, told reporters the
                  family hoped for some quiet time together.
                  "His father is once again ecstatic to see that his son
                  is alive and well, connected to his head and in
                  safety and freedom," he said.
                  "Their plans are just to be together for a couple of
                  days, just to get used to life outside prison."
                  The family has long accused the Saudi government
                  of abusing Sampson.
                  Foreign Affairs Minister Bill Graham said Friday that
                  he will wait to talk to Sampson to see if all his legal
                  rights were protected.
                  "Of course, Canada will do everything we can to
                  protect the legal rights of all Canadians," Graham
                  said outside his Toronto constituency office.
                  "If there's a claim for indemnity of some kind which
                  was justified in international law and can be
                  pursued, we will aid them with that."
                  In a statement Prime Minister Jean Chretien
                  welcomed Sampson's release.
                  "Mr. Sampson's release was secured thanks to the
                  hard work of many people," Chretien said. He also
                  thanked special envoy, Senator Pierre DeBane, who
                  he said "personally appealed Mr. Sampson's case to
                  the Saudi Royal Family on my behalf."
                  Michael Okane, an American lawyer working with
                  the Saudi law firm representing Sampson, said the
                  lack of solid evidence and the fact that the bombings
                  continue in Riyadh contributed to his release.
                  It's unclear when, or if, Sampson will return to
                  Vancouver. He travels on a Canadian and British
                  passport.
                  "I think it is remarkable," Salah al-Hejailan, a lawyer
                  for the detainees, told CTV's Canada AM. "My clients,
                  all of them, were in the wrong place at the wrong
                  time."
                  As for how Simpson is feeling, Hejailan said he is good physically but "not feeling very well."
                  In recent months, Sampson reportedly refused to see Canadian diplomats and treated visitors
                  poorly, following prolonged solitary confinement in Saudi Arabia.
                  Sampson's ordeal
                  Sampson, Briton Alexander "Sandy" Mitchell and Belgian Raf Schyvens were shown confessing to
                  the bombings -- on Nov. 17 and 22, 2000 -- on Saudi state television in February 2001 in the capital
                  of Riyadh.
                  They later retracted their confessions and family and friends said they believed the men had been
                  tortured.
                  "All of them have retracted their confessions that they have made earlier," Hejailan said. "They have
                  insisted that they are not engaged in this crime.
                  Sampson and Mitchell were sentenced to death in a closed hearing in October 2001. Schyvens and
                  the four other Britons were given lengthy jail sentences of up to 18 years.
                  Saudi authorities blamed the bombings on a turf war over illegal but lucrative alcohol sales. Western
                  diplomats believe the bombings were carried out by Muslim extremist groups.
                  While the lawyer reported that Sampson and the five Britons had been freed Friday, he didn't know
                  the fate of the Belgian man.
                  Amnesty Canada secretary General Alex Neve welcomed Sampson's release, but said there are
                  long-term issues that need to be addressed.
                  "We've said all along that one of the reasons why Mr. Sampson's case has occurred is that
                  government's including our own governments have failed to hold Saudi Arabia to account for its
                  dismal human rights record."
                  As for why Sampson was granted clemency now, Neve said we may never know the answer.
                  "I think it's going to be very important over the next day or two to read signs coming out of Saudi
                  Arabia," he said.
                  "Hopefully (we'll) get further information from Mr. Sampson and those who have been released with
                  him to see if we can get a real sense as to whether there was something at play here or whether
                  this is just happenstance."
                  The four jailed Britons include James Patrick Lee, Les Walker, James Cottle and Peter Brandon.
                  A seventh man, Briton Glenn Ballard, who was to be a witness against the others was also released
                  on Friday after being detained for 10 months. He had not been charged but could have been held
                  until the sentences against the others had been ratified.
                  With a report from The Canadian Press


                  Freed Scot may sue Saudi over 'torture'

                  TRACEY LAWSON

                  A SCOT who claims he was tortured into confessing to a spate of fatal car bombs
                  in Saudi Arabia yesterday met lawyers to discuss whether to sue the state.

                  Sandy Mitchell hopes to bring a legal action against the Saudi authorities for
                  alleged bad treatment following his arrest and conviction.

                  Mr Mitchell was one of six Britons jailed in 2000 after they were convicted of
                  being involved in a series of car bombings which the Saudis claim were provoked
                  by a turf war among rival boot-leg drink gangs.

                  Mr Mitchell, 44, from Kirkintilloch, faced public beheading after he was convicted
                  of playing a lead role in planting a bomb which killed Briton Christopher Rodway
                  when it exploded in the Saudi capital of Riyadh in November 2000.

                  The men were released earlier this month after they were granted clemency by
                  King Fahd.

                  Following his release Mr Mitchell, who spent nearly three years in jail, insisted
                  that he was innocent.

                  The hospital technician claimed: "We were tortured - absolutely. That’s why we
                  had to make those confessions. We can prove we are innocent."

                  Confirmation that Mr Mitchell hopes to sue the Saudi government followed a
                  denial by the Arab state that the men had been tortured.

                  Adel al-Jubeir, the foreign affairs adviser to the Crown Prince Abdullah, told BBC
                  Radio 4’s The World This Weekend programme: "We deny that. Let them be
                  examined by medical doctors and we will see."

                  Mr al-Jubeir also pointed out that clemency did not equate to acquittal in the
                  Saudi courts, and insisted the men were guilty.

                  He dismissed claims by the men’s families that the charges were trumped up
                  and that the bombings were committed by Islamic fundamentalists targeting
                  westerners.

                  The Saudi official also denied reports that the men had been released for
                  political reasons.

                  "They were pardoned. When the King of Saudi Arabia pardons people it should
                  not be a big deal. We are damned if we do and damned if we don’t."

                  David Fyfe, 48, of Kirkintilloch, Dunbartonshire, a close friend of Mr Mitchell, said
                  he believed the Saudi denial of torture was prompted by the threat of legal
                  action.

                  Mr Fyfe, a retired police officer, said: "They are all back in their own respective
                  countries now, if they got together and corroborated each other’s evidence they
                  would have a strong case for legal action.

                  "I can only assume that that is why the Saudis have denied the allegations."

                  John Lyons, the Labour MP for Strathkelvin and Bearsden, who supported Mr
                  Mitchell’s family in their attempts to secure his release, said he will back Mr
                  Mitchell’s legal action.

                  Mr Lyons said: "If Sandy Mitchell says he was tortured in a Saudi jail, then I am
                  prepared to accept that.

                  "I believe that he is an innocent man, and the television broadcast of his
                  confession did not have the ring of truth about it to me. If he has been tortured
                  and he wants compensation from the Saudi authorities, then he is within his
                  rights to use every legal recourse he has."

                  Mr Lyons said that Mr Mitchell plans to return to Kirkintilloch within the next few
                  weeks, along with William Sampson, a Scot who was jailed along with him for the
                  car bombing attacks, but who is now based in Canada.

                  The Canadian MP Dan McTeague is pressing his government to launch a formal
                  inquiry into the allegation of maltreatment on behalf of Mr Sampson, who holds
                  a Canadian passport.

                  Mr McTeague said: "I have little doubt that the harm suffered by Mr Sampson
                  was at the hands of the prison guards.

                  "I believe these claims to be accurate and compelling, but if it came down to Mr
                  Sampson’s word against theirs we would have our work cut out.


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This page was last updated August 24, 2003              Canadian Coalition Against the Death Penalty
This page is maintained and updated by Dave Parkinson and Tracy Lamourie in Toronto, Canada