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Last Updated: Friday, 8 August, 2003, 18:37 GMT 19:37 UK
Freed Britons 'traumatised'
Mary Martini, the former wife of James Cottle
Mrs Martini said she could not recognise her ex-husband
The former wife of one of the freed Britons convicted of bomb attacks in Saudi Arabia says the men are "traumatised" by their jail ordeal.

Mary Martini also said she could not recognise her ex-husband James Cottle, from Greater Manchester, when he and the five other men arrived at Heathrow on Friday.

The men were granted "royal clemency" by Saudi Arabia, after being sentenced to 18 years in jail each following bombings in November 2000.

Despite being released the men's convictions still stand, but Mrs Martini said they will fight on to clear their name.

She said Mr Cottle "looked absolutely terrible" when she first saw him at the airport.

James Cottle
Mr Cottle always maintained he was innocent
"He really did look like he had not had anything to eat for two years, because he has lost over six stone," she told BBC North West Tonight.

"He can't speak to anybody at the moment, none of the men want to speak to anybody, they are just totally, totally traumatised by what's happened."

She said she could not believe it when she was first told the news the men really were returning home.

"But I really couldn't recognise the men at first, obviously because the picture of James they have shown was from when he was about 17 stone," Mrs Martini said.

"I'm not really sure how long it will take James to recover, physically perhaps not too long, but mentally I'm really not sure."

The BBC's Andy Gill
"Campaigners say this case highlights weaknesses in the Saudi justice system"

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