Tuesday, February 24, 2004

Bill Sampson

According to reports, Bill Sampson was jailed in Saudi Arabia for two and a half years. The Saudis accused him of planning a "fatal bombing." Now home in Canada, Sampson is suing the Saudi government.

Lawyers working for seven men who were kept in a Saudi jail for two-and-a-half years, including Canadian Bill Sampson, have begun legal proceedings in an attempt to sue Saudi officials they say were responsible for their torture.

Arguments in the lawsuit will be heard May 7 in Britain's High Court as the men try to establish that they have the right to sue Saudi Arabia's interior minister, the deputy governor of the jail in which they were imprisoned and their two torturers.


Sampson, who is originally from British Columbia, faced beheading after he was convicted in the fatal bombing that the Saudis say was part of a turf war between rival bootleggers.

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 late 2000 in which a British man, Christopher Rodway, was killed and four other people were injured.

A sixth Briton, Glenn Ballard, who was detained for 10 months but not charged, also is among those involved in the lawsuit.

Sampson's lawyers have said he 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 had sent him.


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