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Judicial CP - June 2001
The Mirror, London, 2 June 2001
Flogging is a barbaric punishment, it shouldn't be inflictedBy Claire Gardner
THE fight to lift the flogging sentence hanging over Scot David Mornin began yesterday, just hours after his shocked family received the devastating news.
As relatives comforted each other at his sister's Edinburgh home, human rights activists and politicians began the battle to save Mornin from his "barbaric" fate.
Mornin will be lashed publicly on Friday July 6 unless the Saudi Government intervenes.
The retiring MP for his home town of Greenock, Inverclyde, Dr Norman Godman, declared: "Flogging is a brutal, sadistic, barbaric punishment which should not be inflicted.
"I have written to the Foreign Secretary calling on him and the Prime Minister to intervene."
Mornin and his father-in-law, Kelvin Hawkins, were found guilty of the illegal trade in alcohol in the so-called Saudi Mafia booze wars.
Yesterday, at her Greenock home, Mornin's horrified daughter Julie said: "It's awful.
"I knew before the news broke. My aunt telephoned to tell me."
Mornin's family are keeping Julie in touch with what is going on in the Middle East.
But her mum, Mornin's ex-wife, Christine Morrison, said: "She is shattered. She told me she is just numb - she doesn't feel a thing.
"She is bottling up everything. I asked her if she wanted to go over there and she said she just didn't know.
"She hasn't had a chance to take it all in."
Julie and Christine found out David had been sentenced to a year in prison on Wednesday.
Christine said: "David's wife, Debbie, phoned his sister Moira and told her but it was a day later before we found out about the lashes.
"The Foreign Office is appealing to a have the lashes changed to a longer sentence. They are trying to find out what would be the alternative to 300 lashes."
Mornin's elderly parents were believed to have left their Norrth Berwick home yesterday to stay with their daughter, Moira.
At her home in the plush Colinton area of Edinburgh, the family were too upset to talk about the sentence.
Mornin's parents, Janette and Bill, were in New Zealand when their son was arrested earlier this year.
Incredibly, despite the mass publicity, the couple knew nothing of his plight until they returned home in April.
Mornin, a 49-year-old fireman who left Greenock fire station for a new life in Saudi, was given 300 lashes and one year in jail, as well as being fined 40,000 Riyals, about pounds 7,400.
His father-in-law Hawkins, from Lancaster, was sentenced to 500 lashes and jailed for two-and-a-half years.
Two other Britons were also convicted.
Paul Moss, from Merseyside, was sentenced to 500 lashes and two years in prison and another Brit, Ken Hartley, faces 300 lashes and will serve two-and-a-half years in jail.
Yesterday overseas charities and politicians began applying pressure on the Saudi Government to exchange the lashings for extended jail sentences
Amnesty International Scotland and Prisoners Abroad are in negotiations with officials.
Foreign Secretary Robin Cook and the Foreign Office are also pushing for the beatings to be lifted.
Rosemary Burnett of Amnesty Scotland slammed the sentences as "cruel and barbaric".
"This punishment is totally unacceptable and we are doing all we can to put an end to it," she said.
A Foreign Office spokesman said: "We are making it clear to the Saudi Authorities that we regard these sentences as an infringement of human rights.
"We are working as hard as we can to ensure this punishment is not carried out.
"Robin Cook has phoned the ambassador in Riyadh and is doing all he can."
Scot Sandy Mitchell, a theatre technician, and Glasgow-born William Sampson are also being held in a Saudi jail and face public beheading after confessing on Saudi TV to car bombings connected to the booze trade.
Authorities blame in-fighting among the expat community for the series of attacks.
Three recent bomb blasts killed one Briton and injured three others.
Christopher Rodway, 47, died when his car was ripped apart in Riyadh on November 17.
Six days later, two British men and a woman were injured in another car bomb in the capital.
And, in December, David Brown, a customer services manager from Edinburgh, suffered serious facial injuries in the town of al-Khobar when a carton exploded near his car.
Saudi police believe that the explosions relate to a vendetta between gangs smuggling alcohol.
In Riyadh yesterday, security officials confirmed that four Britons had been sentenced to lashings and prison terms for alcohol smuggling.
They also confirmed that other foreigners would face court proceedings on similar charges, but provided no further details.
If the punishments are carried out, it will be the first time a Briton has been flogged in Saudi since 1985.
Daily Telegraph, London, 2 June 2001
Cook acts to save Britons from lashBy Nicola Woolcock
ROBIN COOK has intervened in the case of four Britons who face public floggings and jail sentences for illegal alcohol trading in Saudi Arabia, condemning the punishments as an infringement of human rights.
The Foreign Secretary last night sent a strongly worded message of criticism to Saudi authorities, saying that every effort would be made to ensure the punishments were not carried out. Mr Cook has also told the British ambassador, Derek Plumbly, to do all he can.
Kelvin Hawkins, from the Lancaster area, was sentenced to 500 lashes and jailed for two and a half years. His son-in-law, Dave Mornin, 49, a fireman from Greenock, Scotland, was jailed for a year, sentenced to 300 lashes and fined £7,750. Paul Moss, 31, from Merseyside, was sentenced to 500 lashes and two years in jail. Last week, Ken Hartley, another Briton, was sentenced to 300 lashes and two and a half years in jail.
The Foreign Office said: "Our embassy visited the men last week and is seeking access again as soon as possible. Our ambassador and his staff in Riyadh are in constant contact with the Saudi authorities."
The four Britons are among 12 being held after Saudi clamped down on expatriates drinking and selling alcohol, blaming a "territory war" between illegal traders for eight bombings. Their prison sentences vary between one and two and a half years, but they could appeal or ask for their floggings to be commuted to longer jail terms.
A fifth British man, Ron Yates, from Bolton, Lancs, is still being held in a Riyadh prison while his fate is determined. "He was last visited on May 21 and had not been charged then," said a Foreign Office spokesman. British officials in Riyadh were being asked to check what was happening with his case.
Another Briton, Sandy Mitchell, of Kirkintilloch, faces being publicly beheaded after appearing on television to admit to two bombings in Riyadh last November.
Stephen Jakobi, a director of Fair Trials Abroad and an expert in overseas legal proceedings, said recent precedent suggested the lashings would not be carried out.
Arab News, 4 June 2001
Riyadh won't allow others to meddle in its judiciaryBy a Staff Writer
RIYADH, 4 June - Prince Salman, governor of Riyadh region, yesterday warned foreign countries against meddling in the Kingdom's judiciary which he said was totally independent.
"We implement the Holy Qur'an and the Sunnah of the Prophet (peace be upon him) and we are not concerned whether others like it or not," Prince Salman told reporters after visiting the country's Supreme Court.
"Some think that the administrative ruler of the region interferes in judicial matters. That is not at all true. We don't interfere in the affairs of the courts. The Kingdom's judiciary is independent... We don't accept interference by anybody in our judicial affairs," he said.
Asked about press reports on four Britons sentenced to caning for alcohol trafficking in the Kingdom, Prince Salman said he had not seen a copy of the verdict to comment on it. However, he emphasized that the Qur'an and the Sunnah protected human rights.
The Foreign Office in London said on Thursday that four British men were sentenced last month to two-and-a-half years jail and between 300 and 500 lashes each for trafficking in alcohol. The four were Paul Moss from Merseyside, Ken Hartley, Kevin Hawkins, from Lancaster, and Dave Mornin from Greenock.
Asked about prospects of changing Shariah rules in the Kingdom to meet with World Trade Organization's terms and conditions, Prince Salman said it was "impossible". "The Saudi system of governance is based on the Qur'an and Sunnah and the government will not change any Shariah rules under any circumstances." He said economic laws and administrative systems are excluded from this rule as they can be changed in accordance with the needs of time.
Replying to another question on the need for informing foreign workers and visitors about Saudi rules and regulations, the governor said: "They should know and honor the Kingdom's rules and systems."
Arab News, 4 June 2001
Students caned for cheatingBy Badr Al-Nayyef
Arab News Staff
MADINAH, 4 June - Three secondary school students in the Madinah region were caned recently for passing information to classmates in examination halls using loud speakers. Dakheelullah Al-Ghidani, acting education director in Mahd Al-Dahab, said the incident was reported last year at Safina Secondary School, 280 km south of Madinah. He said no similar incidents reported this year.
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