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Briton released from Riyadh prison disputes Saudi bomb feud claims

Attacks were not part of gang war, says friend of men still in jail. The case against six Britons convicted of carrying out a series of bomb attacks in Saudi Arabia as part of an alleged alcohol “turf war” was further undermined yesterday when a British businessman released from a Riyadh prison confirmed that there was no rivalry between the convicted men. Gary O’Nions, 57, arrived at Heathrow airport yesterday after serving two years of an eight-year sentence for running an illicit drinking and social club in Riyadh. His original sentence of 800 lashes was commuted and a fine of 2 million ryals (£400,000) was waived. The six detained Britons were convicted after apparently confessing to carrying out a series of anti-western bombings which killed British engineer Christopher Rodway and maimed several others. The Saudi authorities claimed the bombings were part of a feud between the men, who were all connected to the expatriate social scene. Five of the Britons, arrested in 2000 and 2001, appeared in televised confessions but later retracted them. A Guardian investigation last year established that the confessions were extracted through torture. Most observers believe that the attacks were carried out by Saudi Islamic extremists. Full Story

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