WASHINGTON: Sources at the Saudi Embassy in Washington have said that Ambassador Adil Al-Jubair is personally following the case of Saudi student Khalid Al-Dossari, who is accused of planning to use chemical weapons to attack targets in the United States of America.
The second hearing in the case, which is taking place in Texas and includes among the charges the intention to target former US President George W. Bush’s house, has been set for March 11.
The sources told Okaz/Saudi Gazette that the Saudi embassy is following the case “step by step” with the American defense lawyer it appointed, Rob Hobson, and helping Al-Dossari with “all his requests and providing his needs and checking on him in prison”.
According to the sources, Hobson has prepared several lines of defense to refute the charges against Al-Dossari, but they would provide no further details that might be detrimental to proceedings.
Al-Dossari pleaded not guilty on Friday before a federal court in Lubbock, Texas, and his defense lawyer issued a statement the same day reasserting the principle of “innocent until proven guilty”.
“This is America, where everyone is entitled to the presumption of innocence, due process, effective representation of counsel and a fair trial,” Hobson said. “I request that everyone take a step back and allow the legal proceedings to unfold in a timely and orderly fashion. The eyes of the world are on this case and the treatment of this accused person. This is a wonderful opportunity for us to show the world how truly fair our legal system is; even to those who are accused of trying to harm our country.”
He said that the media attention had made a fair trial difficult in Lubbock.
The Washington Post newspaper said that Al-Dossari had no known connection with any terrorist group and was described as a “student who had worked hard at secondary school to obtain a scholarship to the United States of America”.
The US Department of Justice announced the arrest of 20-year-old Al-Dossari last Thursday. He was said to be studying at his own expense at the South Plains College near Lubbock, Texas, after entering the US on a student visa in 2008. He was not part of the King Abdullah Scholarships Abroad Program.
The Justice Department said that Al-Dossari faces life imprisonment and a fine of $250,000 if found guilty.
– Okaz/Saudi Gazette