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Last Updated: Sunday, 10 August, 2003, 01:44 GMT 02:44 UK
Briton tells of Saudi 'torture'
Mitchell
Mr Mitchell's "confession" on Saudi television
A man who had faced a death sentence in Saudi Arabia for his alleged part in a car bombing campaign has told how he was tortured into confessing over the crime.

Sandy Mitchell told Scotland's Sunday Mail newspaper he was an innocent man who would never go to an Arab country again.

"We were tortured - that's why we had to make those confessions. We can prove we are innocent," he told the paper.

The 47-year-old was one of six Britons and a Belgian national who were released from jail after being granted clemency by Saudi's King Fahd.

Mr Mitchell, from Kirkintilloch near Glasgow, returned to the UK on Friday along with the other men - all freed after spending three years in a Saudi jail.

I haven't seen my son for two and half years
Sandy Mitchell
Mr Mitchell, a father-of-one was convicted with the six others of carrying out car bombings which led to the death of Christopher Rodway on November 17, 2000 in the Saudi capital Riyadh.

Mr Rodway's wife, Jane, now 53, was injured in the blast.

Mr Mitchell and Glasgow-born William Sampson, who has a Canadian passport, each faced public beheading.

The four other Britons, James Cottle from Manchester, Peter Brandon from Cardiff, Les Walker from the Wirral, and James Patrick Lee, were each serving 12-year sentences after they later admitted their roles in the campaign.

A seventh Briton, Glenn Ballard, had been detained for 10 months but not charged.

It has emerged that the Prince of Wales played a key role in securing the release of the six Britons, by appealing to high level Saudi officials.

A St James's Palace spokesman told The Observer newspaper: "The prince has excellent connections within Saudi Arabia. He has been very keen that the case be relooked at by the Saudi authorities."

Illicit alcohol claims

The Saudis claimed the men were involved in a feud over bootleg drink.

Mr Mitchell told Scotland's Sunday Herald newspaper all of the convicted men were innocent.

"I can reassure you that we are all innocent and we are glad to be home.

"We need some time with our families.

Speaking from his sister Margaret's home in Yorkshire he said: "It has been a nightmare.

"I haven't seen my son for two and half years."

On Friday Mr Mitchell's friends, retired policeman David Fyfe and his wife Lesley, said they were delighted over the release.

The Fyfe family last saw Mr Mitchell when he joined them on holiday in Thailand in August 2000 - three months before the bombings.

Mr Fyfe said of his friend: "He is not a hired killer."




SEE ALSO:
Family overjoyed at father's release
09 Aug 03  |  Merseyside
Freed Britons 'traumatised'
08 Aug 03  |  Manchester
Timeline: British 'bombs' case
14 May 03  |  Middle East
Saudi damages case blocked
30 Jul 03  |  Southern Counties
Britons confess to Saudi bombings
13 Aug 01  |  Middle East


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