INDEPTH: THE WILLIAM SAMPSON STORY|
A timeline of events
CBC News Online | June 14, 2006
Canadian William Sampson was facing a public beheading in Saudi Arabia, having been convicted of carrying out bombings that killed a British man and injured several others.
But after 2½ years in a jail, most of which was spent in solitary confinement, Sampson and five accused British citizens were released from prison.
Here's a timeline of the story:
June 14, 2006
William Sampson (centre, in the blue shirt) disembarks from a flight at London's Heathrow Airport. Aug. 8, 2003 (AP PHOTO)
The U.K. House of Lords Appellate Committee, Britain's highest court, rules that William Sampson and three Britons cannot sue the people they say tortured them in a Saudi jail, overruling the previous Court of Appeal decision. The Law Lords say the Saudi individuals are protected by the U.K.'s state immunity laws.
Oct. 28, 2004
A U.K. court grants Sampson and three Britons the right to sue their Saudi captors. The Court of Appeal rules that the men Sampson claims tortured him should not be protected under Britain's State Immunity Act.
Feb. 24, 2004
Lawyers for Sampson and six other men held in a Saudi prison seek permission from a British court to sue the Saudi interior minister, the deputy governor of the jail where they were held and two guards they say tortured them.
Nov. 10, 2003
Sampson threatens to sue the federal government if it doesn't call a public inquiry into his detention and treatment in Saudi Arabia.
Nov. 6, 2003
Testifying at a Commons committee, Sampson lashes out at Canada's Foreign Affairs Department, saying officials offered no support while he was imprisoned in a Saudi jail. While thanking the Canadian public for their support, Sampson calls on Ottawa to launch a public inquiry into his case.
Sept. 30 - Oct. 1, 2003
The National broadcasts Peter Mansbridge's two part interview with William Sampson.
Sept. 10, 2003
Canadian Alliance foreign affairs critic Stockwell Day calls on Ottawa to kick the Saudi Arabia ambassador out of the country and demand an apology for the treatment of William Sampson, who spent nearly three years in a Saudi jail.
Aug. 14, 2003
Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister Bill Graham defends his department's actions saying Ottawa always had Bill Sampson's best interests in mind, and that accusing the Saudis of torture might have got him killed. Graham faced criticism for his department's dealing with the Saudi Arabian government in trying to free William Sampson.
Aug. 13, 2003
Documents obtained by the CBC reveal that William Sampson repeatedly told Canadian officials that he was being tortured. The documents, released to CBC's the fifth estate under the Access to Information Act suggest that the government dismissed his allegations of torture as speculative, right up to the time of his release on August 8.
Aug. 10, 2003
British newspapers report that Prince Charles played a pivotal role in helping Canadian William Sampson and five Britons gain their freedom in Saudi Arabia. The papers say Prince Charles contacted senior members of the Saudi government and repeatedly demanded the mens' release.
Aug. 8, 2003
William Sampson, along with his five British co-accused, is released from prison. This came after the Saudi King Fahd granted clemency to the six men.
May 20, 2003
William Sampson's Saudi lawyer Sheikh Salah alHejailan says he is appealing to the Saudi royal family for clemency. "We have all indications of a positive nature that our requests for clemency have been reviewed favourably," alHejailan told CBC Newsworld. "We certainly hope that (his release) will be in the near future."
Jan. 8, 2003
William Sampson's father tells CBC Television that the Canadian government has not pushed hard enough to help his son. James Sampson says Ottawa seems more concerned with keeping good relations with the Saudis than with helping his son.
Nov. 25, 2002
William Sampson's father says he's optimistic his son will be spared the death penalty. James Sampson expressed hope after Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud alFaisal announced on November 23 that his government is working to resolve the case. Responding to a reporter's question in Paris, alFaisal said, "We are in continuous discussion with the Canadian government and the prime minister's government has never failed to pursue the interests of the Canadian citizens in Saudi Arabia, nor has Saudi Arabia failed to contribute in resolving this issue between two friendly countries in the spirit of that friendship and understanding." It was the first time a highranking Saudi official had commented publicly on Sampson's case.
Nov. 15, 2002
The Association In Defence of the Wrongfully Convicted announces it hopes to send a delegation to Saudi Arabia to lobby for William Sampson's freedom. The group has a membership that includes several prominent people, including activist Rubin "Hurricane" Carter and Johnnie Cochran, the U.S. lawyer who defended O.J. Simpson.
Cochran urges the Saudis to order a new investigation into the bombings, as well as a public hearing with lawyers to review Sampson's case.
Oct. 31, 2002
A Canadian human rights group meets with Saudi Arabia's ambassador to Canada to discuss the Sampson case. Led by Rubin "Hurricane" Carter, the Association in Defence of the Wrongly Convicted meets with ambassador Mohammed R. alHussaini alSharif. Delegates from the group report the ambassador gave them some reasons for hope.
Saudi Arabia's Supreme Judicial Council postpones ruling on Sampson's execution.
Reports emerge that Sampson has been sentenced to death in a secret trial held in 2001.
Saudi Arabia's interior minister Prince Nayef bin AbdelAziz denies reports that Sampson and other prisoners were tortured into confessing to the bombings. He says the accusations are part of an anti-Saudi campaign in the Western news media.
Saudi Crown Prince Abdullah postpones trip to Ottawa after it is reported that William Sampson was tortured by his Saudi captors.
Feb. 4, 2001
William Sampson, who had been working in Saudi Arabia as a consultant, and Briton Alexander Mitchell and Belgian Raf Schyvens appear on Saudi Arabian television confessing to the November 2000 car bombings.
Nov. 23, 2000
Bomb planted under a second Blazer injures Britons Mark Paine and Steve Coughlan. A Briton and an Irish woman sitting in the rear of the vehicle escape unhurt.
Nov. 17, 2000
British engineer Christopher Rodway is killed and his wife injured when a bomb destroys their Blazer SUV in Riyadh.
Sampson's torture suit bid denied (June 14, 2006)|
Canadian Sampson wins right to sue Saudi captors (Oct. 28, 2004)
Canadian businessman sues Saudi captors (Feb. 24, 2004)
Sampson threatens to sue Ottawa (Nov. 10, 2003)
Canadian government failed me: Sampson (Nov. 6, 2003)
Tough talk hurts Canadians imprisoned abroad: Graham (Nov. 5, 2003)
Kick out Saudi ambassador: Day (Sept. 10, 2003)
Sampson told Canadian officials of torture (Aug. 13, 2003)
Prince Charles instrumental in freeing Sampson: U.K. papers (Aug. 10, 2003)
Canadian convicted in Saudi bombings released (Aug. 8, 2003)
Sampson may be free in weeks: lawyer (May 20, 2003)
Ottawa no help, says father of man in Saudi jail (Jan. 8, 2003)
Lawyers hope to save Canadian from Saudi execution (Nov. 15, 2002)
Group lobbies Saudi ambassador to free Canadian from death sentence (Nov. 2, 2002)
Cdn. businessman sentenced to death in Saudi Arabia: reports (April 26, 2002)
Saudis dismiss accusations they tortured Britons, Canadian (Jan. 31, 2002)
Saudi prince cancels Ottawa visit (May 31, 2001)