Thursday, 22 August 2013

American murder suspect converts to Islam in prison

RIYADH — An American expatriate accused of murdering his Sri Lankan wife has converted to Islam while in prison pending trial, Al-Hayat newspaper reported Wednesday.

The husband was Christian and his wife Buddhist.

A source told the newspaper the general court in Riyadh is currently considering the case and added that the defendant embraced Islam in prison a year after allegedly committing the crime.

Neither the American nor his wife was named.

The source said the woman's body was found in a tube used for digging oil and natural gas wells.

The prosecutor accused the American of murder and said he had taken advantage of his position in his company to obtain the tube in which he put his wife’s body after killing her.

The Sri Lankan charge d'affaires said the embassy had assigned a lawyer to represent the victim’s family in the court and added that he had complete confidence in the Saudi judicial system to get justice for her.

Police in Al-Kharj city, near Riyadh, received information from the company that the American was working for that a woman's body was found in a tube used for the exploration of oil and natural gas.

The police said they arrested the woman's husband based on the statements of a number of Saudi and Chinese workers.

The police also said the American admitted that the body was his wife's.

The police said the tube was welded shut from both sides and buried underground. They said the husband told them that his wife had been missing from home for months following a family dispute but he did not report her absence.

The source said the American was a supervisor of wells in the areas in which Saudi Aramco was exploring for oil and gas.

The source said the American ordered a Chinese worker to tightly close the tube by welding it from both sides and asked him to take the tube to about 10 meters from his home, then asked him to make the distance two meters only.

He said the accused ordered another Chinese worker to bury the garbage and three tubes, one of them containing the body, in a place away from his home.

The source said the workers took out the tube, which was buried away from the digging area, because they wanted to use a portion of it for another purpose and they noticed a bad smell coming from it.

They became suspicious and when they opened the tube they found a decomposed body in an upright position.

During investigations, the accused reportedly gave conflicting statements about the case.

He first denied that he had asked a Chinese laborer to weld the tube and take it near his home and then said he did not remember seeing the tube before.

Finally, he claimed he asked the Chinese worker to bury the garbage, not the tube.