Citizen held by Saudis sues US for release

Dec. 16, 2004 at 6:32 PM
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WASHINGTON, Dec. 16 (UPI) -- A federal judge ruled Thursday the family of a U.S. citizen held for alleged terror ties in Saudi Arabia may sue the U.S. government for his release.

The family of Ahmed Abu Ali will have to show he was arrested at the urging of U.S. officials, ruled U.S. District Judge John Bates.

Abu Ali, born in Houston to naturalized Jordanian parents, was studying in Saudi Arabia when he was arrested June 11, 2003. Less than a week after his arrest, FBI agents searched the family's Falls Church, Va., home, saying he was linked to a group of 11 local men later convicted of training with paintball guns and firearms to join a Pakistani Jihad group.

But no charges have been brought against him by either the United States or Saudi Arabia. Prosecutors referred his case to the paintball case grand jury, but it declined to return an indictment.

His family says they fear he is being tortured in Saudi custody, where he was interrogated in the presence of FBI agents, and later questioned by them. A prosecutor in the paintball case told that court that under Saudi interrogation, Abu Ali admitted joining al-Qaida.

Thursday's ruling means the family's Habeus Corpus case will proceed next year.

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