cj#515> Update re: Saudi Asylum Case


Richard Moore

Date: Mon, 25 Mar 1996
Sender: Parveez Syed <•••@••.•••>
Subject: Re: cj#513> re: Globalization and Human Rights

This is how Shanti RTV news agency covered recent Saudi related
news events. We share the info with CJ readers.

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Tuesday 05 March 1996, London-UK

From: Parveez Syed
Global Media Monitoring
Shanti Communications
One Stuart Road, Thornton Heath, Surrey CR7 8RA1 UK
Tel: London-UK 44-0831-196693
Fax: 44-0181-665 0384
E-Mail INTERNET: •••@••.•••

SAUDI-UK: Massari's expulsion postponed
by Parveez Syed (c) Shanti RTV news agency

British Home Secretary (interior minister) Michael Howard has
been told by an appeals hearing judge to reconsider the case of
Saudi Arabian asylum seeker Professor Muhammed Al-Massari who
was ordered out of Britain in January 1996 in an alleged bid to
protect huge arms deals and trade ties between the two

Judge David Pearl, giving ruling at Immigration Appellate
Authority, said Howard had not established that Caribbean island
of Dominica, to which Prof Al-Mass'ari was due to be expelled, was
a safe third country. He was therefore not entitled to refuse
Massari's claim for asylum without substantive consideration.

Referring the case back to the Howard for reconsideration, Pearl
"recommended strongly" he consider the claim "as expeditiously as
possible and certainly within one month", dashing asylum seekers'
hopes for prolonged appeals to help delay the deportation order
until after the next general elections.

Giving his ruling, Pearl said that crucially, the history of
Dominica illustrated "a considerable degree of political
vulnerability, such that pressure placed on it to remove the
appellant and expel him to Saudi Arabia may not be capable of
being resisted". Immediately after the judge gave his ruling at
the Immigration Appellate Authority in Wood Green in north
London, Massari told reporters that he was happy with the judge's
decision and thought it gave him a better chance of staying in
Britain. He said: "I must agree almost 100%. Within the powers he
had it was as fair as you could expect," adding that he would
carry on with his political activities.

"I will continue even more so, it was never an issue. We could
choose to shut up but we choose another way." The Labour MP for
Glasgow Hillhead, George Galloway, organiser of the "Massari Must
Stay" campaign, said he was jubilant about the judge's ruling.

"It is a grave condemnation of the Major's government and Howard
in particular. It is also a hammer blow to the Saudi
dictatorship, once again exposed as a murderous tyranny,"
Galloway said. "The Government tried to prostitute our fairness,
but they failed."

During a three-day hearing before the Immigration Appellate
Authority last month, Massari alleged he was tortured after being
thrown into prison for helping to found an opposition political
party in Saudi Arabia which is fiercely critical of the desert
kingdom's ruling royal family. His legal team argued that the
British government wanted to expel him in order to maintain good
ties with the Saudi authorities, and that the Dominican government
agreed to accept him after being told by British diplomats that
"one good turn deserved another".

In his ruling, Pearl said that it appeared that an attempt had
been made to circumvent the United Nations Convention on Refugees
for "diplomatic and trade reasons". Massari, leader of the
Islamic fundamentalist Committee for the Defence of Legitimate
Rights, has waged an incoherent campaign against Saudi government
since fleeing to Britain in 1994. His outspoken accusations of
corruption and calls for a peaceful transition to Islamic rule in
Saudi Arabia have infuriated Saudi royals, who have lost no
opportunity to bring pressure on British ministers over his
continued presence in London-UK.

British companies have a massive stake in the 20 billion sterling
pounds (USA $13 billion) Al Yamamah arms deal and other huge
interests in the desert kingdom.

Massari, leader of the London-based Committee for the Defence of
Legitimate Rights, claims that he would be in peril of a lethal
attack by Saudi agents if he was deported to Dominica.

Pearl said: "The only way I can ensure the highest standard of
fairness is to refer the case to the Secretary of State (Howard)
for reconsideration,", citing concerns about security
arrangements in Dominica.

After the hearing Jan Shaw, refugee officer for human rights
group Amnesty International UK, said: "I'm very pleased about
the judgment. We believe that Professor Al-Massari had a
legitimate expectation to have his claim for asylum determined
here. "He is a former Amnesty prisoner of conscience - we
adopted him when he was in detention in 1993. It's very
difficult to know if the Home Office will appeal, but hopefully
he will now have his claim determined here and it will be on its

Presented by: Shanti RTV (c) 05 March 1996 ref: saudi050.txt

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Monday 04 March 1996, London-UK

From: Parveez Syed
Global Media Monitoring
Shanti Communications
One Stuart Road, Thornton Heath, Surrey CR7 8RA1 UK
Tel: London-UK 44-0831-196693
Fax: 44-0181-665 0384
E-Mail INTERNET: •••@••.•••

Torture trail links Saudi-UK arms trade
by Parveez Syed (c) Shanti RTV

"DISPATCHES", 06/13 March 1996, C4TV-UK (9pm) programme reviewed

"Dispatches" documentary, "The Torture Trail", goes undercover to
reveal the dark underside of Britain's booming, lethal arms
trade with Saudi Arabia, Iran, Turkey, China, white South Africa
and many other countries. The programme assembled substantial
evidence to show that electro shock batons and shields are used
to torture prisoners in those countries. It shows how these
barbaric, inhumane weapons have been sold by British companies.

Electro-shock batons are supposedly or allegedly purchased for
riot control - but they are widely used as tools of torture in
repressive countries.

The documentary filmed secretly at a strictly private arms
convention, held at Sandown race-course in leafy Surrey-UK,
where arms pushers and dallals (middlemen, agents or brokers)
from all over the world gather to examine and purchase the
latest hi-tech security apparatus and weapons of torture. Hidden
television cameras show how the butchers from countries with
well-documented histories of torture rub shoulders with another
set of butchers from the British defence ministry and the Royal
Ulster Constabulary.

To make the documentary, reporter Martyn Gregory posed as an
arms dealer, pretending to act on behalf of a Middle Eastern
buyer. Gregory's meeting with the representatives of "defence"
companies, where the British butchers demonstrate their barbaric
and hi-tech wares, were filmed secretly.

A salesman for British Aerospace (good cover, BAe!), UK's biggest
"defence" contractor, offered to sell Gregory 5,000 electro shock
batons and 10,000 electro shock sheilds - inviting Gregory to the
British Royal Ordanance Division offices in Chorley-UK to confirm
the deal in writing. The salesman also told Gregory that 8,000
shock batons had been sold to Saudi Arabia as part of the huge,
government-negotiated Al-Yamamah, arms deal - a boast denied by
the company.

The managing director of Glasgow (UK) based company ICL Tech
(another cosy cover) also offered electro shock weapons to
Gregory. The MD is filmed outlining how he sold such weapons in
the past to China, less than a year after the Tiananmen Square
massacre and in spite of an arms ban, and to the former white
regime in South Africa.

"The body shows very little sign of electrical torture and that
is why the torturers use it," says Helen Bamber of Medical
Foundation for the Care of Victims of Torture. "It has been
called the universal tool of the torturer today," she adds.

"The Torture Trail" documentary is described as "excellent" by
Tom Sutcliffe of The Independent, and as "a valuable,
well-researched report" by Richard Compton-Miller of the Daily
Express newspapers in the UK. The programme won the best
documentary award in the 1995 Amnesty International Media
Awards. In July 1995 British deputy prime minister, Michael
Heseltine MP, apologised to Martyn Gregory and paid 55,000
sterling pounds (USA $85,000) in settlement of a libel action
over defamatory letters, written by Heseltine and the
Department of Trade and Industry ministers, which accused
Gregory of creating "a story that otherwise did not exist".

The documentary was first televised on C4TV-UK in January 1995. A
sequel to "The Torture Trail", which will look into the world of
the arms traders, will be screened on Wednesday 13 March 1996 on

Presented by: Shanti RTV (c) 04 March 1996, ref: saudi049.txt

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Parveez Syed's direct contact details are:
One Stuart Road, Thornton Heath, Surrey CR7 8RA1 UK
Tel: London-UK 44-0831-196693;
Fax/tel: 44-0181-665 0384
E-Mail INTERNET: •••@••.•••
Food for thought?: "In politics, as in the snake oil business, it
pays to have a short memory and a chameleon-like quality. That is
why the relationship between a journalist and a politician should
be like the one between a dog and a lamp-post".
But who is doing what to whom? One wonders ;-)


    Posted by Richard K. Moore  -  •••@••.•••  -  Wexford, Ireland
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