HeadLine: HUNDREDS ARE VICTIMS OF TORTURE
Daily Record, 22/05/1998, p2
by Shaun Milne
Lucille McLauchlan was not the first foreigner in Saudi tortured into
confessing a crime they didn’t commit.
Scores of other visitors to the country have faced kangaroo courts and
trumped- up charges based on sworn admissions.
Some have endured barbaric treatment and squalor, like Lucille.
Others have not been so lucky to walk away.
Amnesty International have recorded nearly 600 official executions in
the past seven years.
They fear the actual total could be several thousand, quite apart from
the number of floggings and torture cases.
The Saudis are experts at inflicting terror to extract false
Victims include Peter Hall, 41, and wife Monica, 38, who narrowly
escaped death for the murder of Helen Feeney in 1986.
The Saudis said they killed her for money. Her family waived the right
to demand the death penalty and they were sentenced to 10 years after
Princess Diana intervened.
British systems analyst Ron McEwan, 36, was chained to bars in a cell
with his feet locked in heavy blocks. He was kicked and beaten by
guards and left without medical attention in 1985.
It forced him in to confessing a drink-driving charge. He was given a
Filipino Donato Lama was beaten while shackled and handcuffed after he
attended a Christian prayer meeting.
After making a false confession admitting he was a preacher, he was
jailed for 18 months and sentenced to 70 lashes.
Amnesty International claim Saudi police also tortured 40 Indian kids
for begging. The youngsters, aged six to 14, were beaten and starved
for two months until they confessed, and deported.
They also claimed Pakistani Gulam Mustafa was tortured to make him
confess a drugs charge. It was claimed he was exposed to electric shock
Amnesty spokesman Brendan Paddy said: “It’s an extremely oppressive
government. Foreign workers are vulnerable, particularly those from
Third World countries.”
He said many cases were decided before the accused came to court.
He said: “You may be in court for adultery and sentenced to flogging,
or up on a drugs charge and sentenced to death.”
Steven Jacobi, of Fair Trials Abroad, hopes the high-profile case could
force a revamp of the Saudi legal system.
He said: “We want them to observe the basic rights of a fair trial.
“Other governments face political problems because of oil wealth and
Other Scots, while escaping beatings to extract confessions, have
suffered punishment from the Saudi authorities.
Michael Sims, 23, of Uddingston, and John Donnelly, of Clydebank, were
both sentenced to six months at Dammam Prison in 1980 and given 60
lashes each in a public flogging for drinking alcohol at a disco in a
Jim Clabby, 25,of Greenock, and friend David Golding, 23, were
sentenced to six months and five months respectively after police found
two empty alcohol bottles in their Saudi flat.
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