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Monday, 12 February, 2001, 15:27 GMT
Official visits bomb suspect Briton
Briton Alexander Mitchell confessing to bomb attack on Saudi TV
Alexander Mitchell was televised making a confession
By BBC Middle East Correspondent Frank Gardner

A British diplomat has been allowed access to a Briton accused of carrying out a fatal bomb attack in Saudi Arabia.

The British consul visited Alexander Mitchell on Sunday night in the first consular visit since his apparent confession eight days ago.

Mr Mitchell, from Scotland, appeared on Saudi Arabian television with two other foreign nationals eight days ago, stating that he had carried out a car bombing in the capital Riyadh which killed a fellow Briton.

Roadblock after Riyadh blast
A Briton was killed in a bomb attack in November
After several days of negotiations over access, a British diplomat was allowed in to see Mr Mitchell, who could face the death penalty under Saudi law.

A date for his trial has yet to be announced and until then the interior minister has refused to allow the men access to a defence lawyer.

A Foreign Office spokesman told the BBC that Mr Mitchell, 44, had asked for no details of the consular visit to be disclosed to the media.

The spokesman said only that Mr Mitchell, who was originally from Kirkintilloch, near Glasgow, was well.

It was also revealed on Monday that Saudi officials have asked the authorities in the nearby emirate of Dubai to extradite another Briton, Gary Dixon, on charges of alcohol-related offences.

Importing, drinking or selling alcohol is strictly forbidden in Saudi Arabia.

Drinking crackdown

They are crimes that are normally punishable by public flogging.

Mr Mitchell was one of six Britons arrested on 17 December and charged with "alcohol offences".

However, on 4 February he and two other Westerners were shown on Saudi television, allegedly confessing to involvement in a bombing in the country's capital.

Mr Mitchell was quoted as saying: "I confirm and confess that I received orders to carry out the bombing here in Riyadh which took place on 17 November."

The other men shown on the broadcast were Canadian citizen, William Sampson, who was born in Glasgow, and Belgian Ralph Skevins.

See also:

08 Feb 01 | Middle East
Getting a drink in Saudi Arabia
05 Feb 01 | Middle East
Saudi bomb suspects may face execution
05 Feb 01 | Scotland
'Shock' at Saudi bomb arrests
17 Nov 00 | Middle East
Briton killed in Saudi blast
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