(Ottawa, Canada – April 9, 2008) – The Canadian Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-CAN) today called on the federal government to assign observers from Canadian consular officials in Saudi Arabia to all court proceedings relating to Mohamed and Sultan Kohail, to ensure that there is no further miscarriage of justice.
In early March 2008, Mohamad, 22, was sentenced to death in a Saudi court for allegedly killing a young man in a school yard brawl. However, Mohamed’s family says he did not have a fair trial, as no witnesses were called to the stand. At an April 1, 2008 appeal, Mohamed’s Montreal lawyer was ordered out of the courtroom and threatened with having his license revoked. Sultan, 17, was sentenced to 200 lashes and a year in prison this past weekend.
“Our government must assign Canadian consular officials to act as observers in all court proceedings relating to the trial of the Kohails in order to be in a position to take appropriate steps to ensure there is no further miscarriage of justice.
“It seems as if the Kohails’ basic legal rights are not being respected. Mohamed was not able to have any witnesses testify and his lawyer was ejected from the court room.
“One is being subject to capital punishment, and the other to a severe sentence for a death that very likely was unintentional,” said Sameer Zuberi, a spokesman for CAIR-CAN.
An autopsy indicated the man killed in the brawl died from bladder bleeding complicated by a weak heart. A friend of the Kohails, Muhanna Ezzat, a 22-year-old Jordan national, is appealing a death sentence handed down to him by the court.
According to Mahmoud Al-Ken, a Montreal spokesman for the family, Saudi public opinion is strongly against the accused and they are being treated like troublesome foreigners.
CONTACT: Sameer Zuberi, CAIR-CAN Communications Coordinator, 613-795-2012 or 613-254-9704