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Posted: 5/8/2003 2:31:33 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 5/8/2003 2:33:02 PM EDT by raven]
Such good news. To read the story of how the Brits were tortured into admitting they were the targets of an illegal alcohol trafficking ring, rather than the targets of anti western Islamists, read this: [url]http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,3-673425,00.html[/url] [b]Briton Imprisoned in Riyadh Alcohol Case Deported[/b] Staff Writer RIYADH, 9 May 2003 — The Kingdom has released and deported a British businessman jailed a year ago for trading in alcohol, a British diplomat said here yesterday. “He was deported last night,” the diplomat said, adding that he did not know what prompted Gary O’Nions’ surprise release. O’Nions was sentenced last year in Saudi Arabia to 800 lashes and eight years in jail for running a drinking den. He had been arrested in the neighboring United Arab Emirates and extradited to Saudi Arabia. The 57-year-old businessman had appealed the sentence and was spared the lashes. O’Nions said that he was relieved to have been released after serving just a quarter of his sentence. The London businessman acknowledged operating a drinking den in Riyadh, manufacturing alcohol for sale. In London, a Foreign Office spokesman confirmed the release. “Gary O’Nions was deported to the UK by the Saudi authorities on May 8,” he said without elaborating. He did not say why O’Nions, one of seven Britons held in Saudi jails, had been released early, but said the British government was carefully monitoring the situation. “We remain deeply concerned about the situation of the others. We raise the issue regularly with the Saudi authorities,” the spokesman said. British citizen Sandy Mitchell, 44, and Canadian William Sampson, 42, could face execution if they are convicted of planting a car bomb that killed Briton Christopher Rodway in November 2000. The others accused of the offense — James Cottle, Peter Brandon, Les Walker and James Patrick Lee — are serving 12-year sentences. In televised confessions, Mitchell said that he and Sampson, an economist, were responsible for the blast which killed Rodway and a subsequent explosion, but relatives in Britain said at the time he appeared to be under duress. Stephen Jakobi, director of the British pressure group Fair Trials Abroad, warned that attempts to secure the release of the other six Britons would be extremely difficult. “O’Nions was always a fringe figure. The others will have much more of a problem trying to gain their release because it’s gone on for such a long time,” he said. The bombings began on Nov. 17, 2000, when engineer Rodway, 47, died and his wife Jane, 50, was injured after their car was blown up in Riyadh. Five days later, another car bomb injured three Britons and an Irish woman. Saudi authorities attributed the attacks to a turf war in the illicit alcohol trade, but reports in Britain suggested they were the work of anti-Western radicals. The British diplomat in Riyadh said the embassy was working to secure their release. [url]http://www.arabnews.com/Article.asp?ID=26004[/url]
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