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rainbow ruler   :  Archive   :  2003   :  SA Judicial Jul 2003


Judicial CP - July 2003

Corpun file 11539


The Age, Melbourne, Australia, 2 July 2003

Thomas angry at wife

An Australian who has returned home after being jailed in Saudi Arabia for his wife's crime said he was "angry" at her but would not let the ordeal embitter him.

"I am angry at her but there's nothing I can do about it," Robert Thomas, 56, said.

Mr Thomas was sentenced to 16 months' jail and 300 public lashings after his wife Lorna, a Filipina nurse, was convicted of stealing equipment from a Saudi hospital where the couple worked in June last year.

Mr Thomas, an anaesthetic technician who returned to Melbourne two weeks ago, was found guilty by association under the country's sharia laws.

He could have been spared a jail term if his wife of nine years had pleaded guilty of the theft, but she did not confess.

"If she continues to say she didn't do it, I have got to leave it at that," Mr Thomas told Channel Nine's A Current Affair program.

He revealed Saudi prison authorities had insisted he visit his wife at her prison once a month.

They were both released from jail after 12 months and Lorna had returned to her homeland, their marriage over, Mr Thomas said.

"If I continue my anger, my life's not going to be fantastic," he said.

"So I have just got to forget it."

Mr Thomas recalled how large crowds would gather to watch him receive 50 lashings at a time, with a bamboo cane.

"Because I was a foreigner, and I was a westerner, rather large crowds would come to see me," he told the program.

"They would cheer, especially when I finished (and) I hadn't tried to wriggle away.

"They would put their thumbs up and say 'good, you've done okay'."

Mr Thomas said he resisted pressure while in jail to become a Muslim.

© 2003 AAP

Corpun file 11819


Arab News, Riyadh/Jeddah/Dhahran, 23 July 2003

'Riyadh 3' Home After 5 Weeks

Inquirer News Service

MANILA, 23 July 2003 - Three overseas Filipino workers acquitted in the murder of a policeman in Saudi Arabia may be home in five weeks or so, after they get 350 lashes each for giving contradicting testimonies on the case.

Foreign Secretary Blas Ople said he was awaiting "the safe return" of Joselito Alejo, Romeo Cordova, and Ramiro Esmero, currently in the custody of the Philippine Embassy in Riyadh.

The three were freed last year after five years in prison. But last July 9, the Riyadh Emergency Court ordered the lashing, saying the Filipinos had failed to report the murder of policeman Fahad Al-Otaibi, and then gave testimonies contrary to their previous statements.

Ople said the OFWs were fortunate to have avoided the death penalty "despite appeals by the family of the deceased."

The Philippine embassy in Riyadh reported on July 14 that the decision would be forwarded to the Riyadh Court of Appeals for review. If the appellate court affirms it, Judge Al-Obad's ruling will be forwarded to the Governor's Office for approval. If the decision is approved, Al-Obad will order the Saudi police to implement the lashing and the Filipinos' subsequent deportation from the kingdom.

The OFWs will get 70 lashes once a week over a five-week period, to different parts of the body, the Department of Foreign Affairs said. Each lashing will be followed by a medical examination by Saudi authorities, it said.

The Filipinos will then be remanded to the custody of the Philippine embassy until the next round of lashing, the department said.

Ople said he had instructed Ambassador Bahnarim Guinomla in Riyadh to monitor closely the progress of the case.

Copyright Arab News © 2003 All rights reserved.

Corpun file 11817


Arab News, Riyadh/Jeddah/Dhahran, 29 July 2003

Maid Tortured to Death

By Mahmoud Ahmad
Arab News Staff

JEDDAH, 29 July 2003 - An 18-year-old maid has died as a result of severe burns inflicted by her employers, Al-Madinah reported.

The woman of the house poured scalding water on the maid because she could not understand Arabic, the paper said, while the husband tied her up. Both husband and wife are teachers. When the maid's condition worsened following the assault, the woman took the maid to her mother's house with the intention of having her deported for failure to fulfill her contractual obligations.

The mother attempted to treat the maid with aspirin, but the girl, of Asian nationality, succumbed to her injuries soon after, the paper said.

A court sentenced the husband to four years and the wife to two years in jail. The wife's mother will receive 80 lashes for conspiring to conceal the crime.

Copyright Arab News © 2003 All rights reserved.

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