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Saudis seek answers after 24-year wait for justice

Despite expecting a positive outcome in a key murder trial ruling today, relatives of slain high-profile Saudi Arabian businessman Mohammad al-Ruwaili have questioned why it took 24 years to get to this stage and who has benefited from the long delay.

Speaking at a press conference at a Bangkok hotel,on Saturday Matrook and Atiche al-Ruwaili said the family wondered who had delayed the process, starting from the police investigation and extending to the prosecution and the trial - what did those people expect to gain from the delay, or had people profited from the lengthy process?

"This is not a case of two countries who share a common border, [who might] expect that their strained ties would jeopardise relations or result in long-term dispute," Matrook said.

"It's simply a case of murder... Why would it take so very long?"

If the family did not get the desired result today, it would seek further justice until it prevailed, both men said.

But they said further action might be taken by the Saudi authorities. They did not elaborate.

The men said they expected a positive ruling and believed Thai-Saudi ties would return to normal as a result.

Al-Ruwaili was a businessman close to the Saudi royal family who entered Thailand in 1986 to run a placement firm for Thais seeking overseas jobs.

He was later asked by the Saudi royal family to investigate the murders of three Saudi diplomats - the first in January 1989 and two others in February 1990.

Al-Ruwaili disappeared between February 12-15, 1990 and was never found.

Asked about evidence obtained by the court against Thai policemen, Matrook said he could not verify it but it was likely that those defendants could have committed the crimes.


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