Lawyers for alleged Saudi torture victims going after Saudi assets in UK

[JURIST] A UK lawyer representing three Westerners allegedly tortured in a Saudi Arabian prison said Tuesday that her firm would attempt to seize Saudi assets in Britain, including those of Saudi Arabian Airlines, as reparation for the men's mistreatment and to pay for overdue legal costs. The men - two British nationals and a British-Canadian citizen - were held in Saudi prison for two years and confessed [video] to planning a stream of bomb attacks in Riyadh in 2000 and 2001 [BBC backgrounder]. The men continue to plead their innocence, saying that they would have pleaded guilty to anything considering the torture they suffered through [Guardian report; CBC backgrounder on William Sampson]. Last October, Britain's appeals court overruled [opinion] the State Immunity Act of 1978 [text], effectively forbidding blanket immunity for foreign officials in countries accused of serious crimes, such as torture. The appeals court also ordered Riyadh to pay the cost of the appeals for the men, believed to be over 100,000 pounds. Human Rights Watch [advocacy website] has repeatedly tagged Saudi Arabia as a country who denies fundamental rights to criminal suspects [press release]. AFP has more.



 

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