Saudi Orders Prison, Lashes for Canadian

RIYADH, Saudi Arabia (AP) -- A Saudi Arabian court convicted a 17-year-old Canadian for involvement in the murder of a classmate and sentenced him on Saturday to a year in prison and 200 lashes, his father and lawyer said.

The boy's older brother, Mohammed Kohail, was already convicted on March 4 in the murder, and sentenced to death by beheading, along with a third man, a Jordanian.

Canada has said it would seek clemency for Mohammad, 23.

Mohammad and his younger brother, Sultan Kohail, 17, were detained in January 2007 after a school yard brawl resulted in the death of another student from internal injuries.

According to one of the defense lawyers, Mohammad had gone to the school to pick up his brother when a group of young men started harassing the younger boy. A scuffle ensued during which a Syrian classmate, Munther al-Haraki, died.

Sultan was sentenced to a year in prison and to 200 lashes, both the boy's father, Ali Kohail, and lawyer, Saleh al-Ghamdi, told The Associated Press.

They said the family had appealed the conviction and will request that Sultan's sentence to be commuted to time served since he has already spent eight months in custody.

"God willing, he will be pardoned and released, as well as his brother," the father said.

Canada's ambassador to Saudi Arabia, Ron Davidson, has pressed the Saudi government to give a fair hearing to the older Kohail, and has already met with him and members of his family to discuss the case and appealing the murder conviction.

Saudi Arabia follows a strict interpretation of Islam under which people convicted of murder, drug trafficking, rape and armed robbery can be executed, usually with a sword. So far this year, 36 people have been executed in the kingdom.

Canada abolished the death penalty in 1976.


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