HC Deb 06 February 2002 vol 379 c951W
Mr. Moore

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what access British diplomats have had to(a) Mr. Sandy Mitchell, (b) Mr. Jimmy Cottle, (c) Mr. James Lee and (d) Mr. Les Walker; what evidence against them has been provided by the Saudi authorities; what legal assistance has been made available to them; what charges have been made against them; what date has been set for their trial; and what representations have been made to the Saudi Government regarding their treatment. [32925]

Mr. Bradshaw

British embassy consular officials have visited Sandy Mitchell, Jimmy Cottle, James Lee, Les Walker and Peter Brandon as often as allowed. This has been about once a month since we secured consular access to the men. The Saudi authorities have shown us no evidence against the men. Four of the men have been shown on Saudi television saying they carried out bombings. We pressed hard for the men to be allowed to appoint lawyers. This has been allowed and the men have now done so. Their lawyers now have unrestricted access to them. We have not been told what the men may stand trial for. No date for a trial has been set.

We are extremely concerned about various aspects of this case, including that our access to the prisoners has been restricted. We are in close touch with the detainees' families. The majority of them agree that we should not discuss the cases in detail in public. Throughout we have raised these cases at the highest levels with the Saudi authorities. We continue to do so.

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