Sampson's torture suit bid denied

Britain's highest court ruled Wednesday that Canadian William Sampson and three other men cannot sue their alleged Saudi Arabian torturers.

Canadian William Sampson cannot sue the people he says tortured him while he was in a Saudi jail, Britain's highest court ruled on Wednesday.

The ruling by the Law Lords also applied to Ron Jones, Sandy Mitchell and Les Walker, all from Britain.

The Saudi government argued that Britain's Court of Appeal was wrong when itagreed withthe men that their alleged torturers should not be protected under England's State Immunity Act.

In 2004, the Court of Appeal ruled the men could sue those individuals, but not the Saudi government.

Sampson told reporters afterward thathe was not surprisedby the decision, but lashed out at the Belgian, British and Canadian governments.

"They have behaved with complete and utter moral and ethical hypocrisy from the start," Sampson said. "They have allowed their citizens to be tortured, they have prevented their citizens from seeking redress or any form of justice, and they continue to do so.

"They're more concerned with holding cocktail parties with torturers than they are in seeing that justice is done for their own citizens."

'Done absolutely nothing'

Sampson told CBC News that as a signatory of the UN Convention Against Torture, Britain has an obligation to seek redress on those who claim they have been tortured, regardless that it occurred in Saudi Arabia.

"They have that right to do that," he said. "They have that right to pursue such a criminal case.

"Have they done anything? No. They've done absolutely nothing."

Sampsonsaidthemenwould take their claim to the European Court of Justice.

He called that final avenue of appeal a "good hope," pointing to the case of Sulaiman Al-Adsani, a man with British and Kuwaiti citizenship who alleged he had been tortured while detained in Kuwait in 1991.

The European Court ruled in favour of the Kuwaiti government in 2001, but by a narrow 9-8 majority.

"We believe the judicial planet has changed in Europe because since that time, a number of European countries have pushed back the boundaries of state immunity and enacted laws which actually allow their citizens to pursue redress," he said.

Sampson, who had been working in Saudi Arabia as a consultant, was one of three men who appeared onSaudi television in 2001 confessing to a series of car bombings in Riyadh several months earlier that killed two people and injured several others.

He says he was tortured into making the confession.

After serving more than two years in prison, Sampsonwas among seven foreigners held prisoner in Saudi Arabia who were granted amnesty and freed in 2003.