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He was forced to confess after police hung him upside down,
kept him awake for more than a week and threatened to harm his family

  William Sampson 
    Canadian Sentenced to Death in Saudi Arabia  
                                                                    News About William Sampson's Release
   The Canadian Government seems to be more worried about relations with
    the Saudi Kingdom, than they are about protecting the lives of Canadians.

The British Government and even Prince Charles have confronted Saudi Prince
Abdullah regarding their citizen Alexander Mitchell, co-accused in this case.

Canadian officials instead back down when Prince Abdullah cancels his trip
to Canada because we question the torture of prisoners by the Saudi regime.

                                                                    A State Of Denial - The Bill Sampson Story
                                                                                                                        CBC Television's 'The Fifth Estate' does a detailed report of the Sampson case.

    Death sentence open to debate----Prince discusses Canadian's beheading
November 24, 2002 SAUDI ARABIA/CANADA:
In Paris, Saudi Arabia's foreign minister says the case of a Canadian man sentenced to death for his alleged
role in a bombing plot in the Mideast country is open to discussion.
In a rare appearance with Prime Minister Jean Chretien yesterday at a news conference on aid to Lebanon,
Prince Saud al-Faisal was asked whether William Sampson would be beheaded.
"We are in continuous discussion with the Canadian government and the prime minister's government has never failed
 to pursue the interests of the Canadian citizens in Saudi Arabia -- nor has Saudi Arabia failed to contribute in resolving
 this issue between 2 friendly countries in the spirit of that friendship and understanding," the prince said.
His remarks are the 1st from a high-ranking government official on the case since the Canadian was arrested in 2001.
Asked whether he had raised the issue, Chretien said he had not because he hadn't met individually with the prince.
Sampson, 43, and a Briton were sentenced to death at a secret trial for their alleged roles in car bombings in the
Saudi capital of Riyadh in December 2000.
The bombings killed a British man and injured others.
Sampson had been working as an employee of a Saudi agency that provides loans to industrial ventures.
He has been locked in solitary for almost 2 years, and faces beheading if his conviction is upheld.
Authorities claim the bombings were linked to a black market in forbidden alcohol.
Sampson's defenders say the bombings have continued, and also contend they're the work of anti-western extremists
the Saudis are trying to cover up. There have also been allegations torture was used to extract confessions from Sampson.
A member of the defence says prison officials report Sampson's mental health is deteriorating. He has refused visits and
legal help, stopped taking his heart medication, thrown things, and verbally abused his guards. (source: Calgary Sun)

             Links to News About William Sampson and his case...
       News 2003 - Latest updates on his condition
       News 2002 - Secret Trial in April
            He was forced to confess after police hung him upside down, kept him awake 
            for more than a week and threatened to harm his family, court documents say
  Original News of his Arrest by Saudi Authorities
       News About Torture and Abuse
                                           Image courtesy of the National Post - Canada's National Newspaper
Saudi Crown Prince Abdullah gets angry at Canadian media coverage and the reactions of some Canadian officials. The arrogance of this undemocratic regime remains unchallenged.
   Saudi Prince Angry - Cancels Visit
      The Canadian Government doesn't have the courage to confront the Saudi regime.
Canadian Governments Press Release
  Alexander Mitchell, Co-Accused - British Citizen
                                      Visit Alexander Mitchell's page for more information about the case
While Prince Charles campaigns on behalf of Andrew Mitchell a British citizen being detained with Canadian William Sampson, the Canadian Government refuses to take appropriate diplomatic steps to remedy the situation or even confront Saudi Officials !
            Saudi Arabia: A Justice System Without Justice
Amnesty International Report - on the disturbing reports of abuses that take place in the Saudi Kingdom, and the lack of accountability and secrecy in the criminal justice system. 

            The Saudi's Response . . .
"The Crown Prince is very keen to preserve the respect of the independence of his country..."

Saudi Prince Abdullah Cancels Visit - Upset by Canada's Concerns !
Saudi Arabia is an absolute monarchy where convicted criminals are flogged, mutilated with amputations and often beheaded. In the year 2000, Saudi authorities executed 123 people, punished 34 others by cutting off their hands or feet, and in one case surgically removed a man's eye. Labour unions and political parties are banned. Saudi women have no rights.
Women cannot drive a car, travel without male permission or appear in public without a flowing black cloak. Saudis who oppose the government, even peacefully, are arrested
and detained indefinitely under the country's secretive criminal procedures.

The Canadian government was "satisfied" Sampson has been treated "fairly and justly" throughout his trials,  and reports he's been condemned to die by beheading are
"speculation," - Canada's ambassador to Saudi Arabia Melvyn MacDonald July 2002.

     Canadian diplomats who visited Mr. Sampson claim he was not tortured...

                           NOW THE TRUTH COMES OUT !

Excerpts from a brief to the Supreme Judicial Council in Saudi Arabia, prepared by Ahmed Othman al-Tuwaijry and Salah al-Hujailan, lawyers for imprisoned Canadian Bill Sampson:


The sentences against our clients are based on written confessions that are allegedly genuine and legal.... The judge or judges who affirmed these confessions and handed down these sentenced should have tried to uncover the flimsiness and weakness of the basis upon which these confessions were built. The confessions were illegal and were obtained by coercion and force.


The sentencing document does not contain any independent or conclusive evidence that may convict our
clients.... Despite our constant requests to the officials in charge of the case and to high-ranking officials in the Ministry of the Interior to provide a single piece of evidence that may convict our clients, our attempts were to no avail. The investigator has nothing to say but to repeat the above-mentioned confessions.


Despite the gravity and ramifications of the crimes committed in this case and ... despite the fact that all the accused in this case are foreigners who do not speak Arabic, the official in charge of the investigation and prosecution is an officer with the rank of captain who does not speak any foreign language at all. The person in charge of translation was another officer with an inferior rank who has only a rudimentary knowledge of English, which he learned in a summer course at his own expense.


Though we were appointed as defence counsels for our clients in October, 2000, we have not been given any opportunity to defend them, except for this brief.... It is worth noting that this case has been tried ... without us being notified and without the knowledge of our clients, who told us countless times that they were not aware they were facing trial.


Despite our constant requests, we have not had access to the investigation reports or any other related
documents.... We were not able to obtain any written material from our clients because they were denied access to a pen and a piece of paper to do so. Whatever they wrote during our interviews with them was confiscated by the prison authorities and we have not received them yet.... Our clients still do not know the content of the sentences passed against them. Moreover, even their lawyers were unable to obtain a copy of the sentencing document.


All our clients insist they are innocent and that they were forced to give their confessions. They claim the
confessions were extracted from them by torture. They say they were subjected to the following abuses:

1) Sleep deprivation ranging from one week to 10 continuous days. They were forced to stand up while their hands were shackled to the top of the door.

2) Sudden slapping on the face and punches to the body.

3) Their feet and hands were shackled and their bodies were hanging upside down.

4) Threats to harm relatives.

5) Promise of pardon and quick release if they confess to the bombings in a manner dictated by the


There is a striking resemblance between the phrases used by all the accused in their confessions, which lack the elements that distinguish genuine and voluntary confessions, be they written or videotaped. The fact that the accused did not meet each other during the whole period of investigation, which lasted more than a year and a half, raises serious questions about the credibility of the identical phrases used in the confessions.

     Held Without Charges Since December 2000 !


                            Canadian William Sampson                                      British Citizen Alexander Mitchell

William Sampson and Alexander Mitchell are forced to confess on Saudi National TV.
Recent reports of abuse and torture suffered at the hand of Saudi Authorities
completely invalidate the legitimacy of any confessions they were forced to make.

As Canadian officials quickly dismiss claims of torture, British Foreign Office officials are investigating reports that one of four Britons sentenced to flogging in Saudi Arabia was tortured in jail. According to reports one of the men has been beaten on the soles of his feet.
William Sampson's original medical report, described similar injuries to his feet. Canadian officials dismissed these as injuries he suffered during restraints against a suicide attempt.

The British Government and even Prince Charles have confronted Saudi Prince Abdullah regarding their citizen Alexander Mitchell,
Canadian officials instead back down when Prince Abdullah cancels
his trip because we dare to question this undemocratic regime.


Does our Government cherish middle eastern oil more than the fundamental rights of Canadian citizens living and working abroad ?
Continuing to do business with the Saudi regime, notoriously
one of the worlds leading human rights violators...

            What's more important ?
     The rights of Canadian citizens, or Saudi oil...

     William Sampson - 1988 in Europe with his father                           William Sampson - Death Row Saudi Arabia

                                                        Bill Sampson in a school photograph from the 1980s

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Last updated December 23, 2010  Canadian Coalition Against the Death Penalty
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