An Australian man detained for almost 18 months faces terrorism charges in Saudi Arabia, officials have confirmed Thursday.
Shayden Thorne, 25, was arrested in November 2011 and has been held in jail outside Riyadh since, after a laptop that he reportedly borrowed from a mosque was allegedly found to contain terrorist material, reports AFP.
A statement from Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade confirmed the arrest. “We know that he has been charged with terrorism-related offences, but that is all we’ve been informed of at this stage,” a spokeswoman for Foreign Minister Bob Carr told AFP.
Carr also urged a speedy resolution to the case, adding that 50 representations had been made on Thorne’s behalf to Saudi authorities. He refused to comment whether the man was innocent.
“We can’t do that,” Carr said, but added, “You are subject to the law of the country you are in. Shayden chose to live there for 12 years and the laws of Saudi Arabia apply to him or anyone else in his position”.
The man’s younger brother, Junaid Muhammed Thorne, 23, was also jailed for several months after protesting against his brother’s arrest, but was eventually released. He accused prison authorities of torturing Shayden.
“It took a very, very long time to charge him,” Junaid said. “He stayed of a year-and-a-half without any charges. And then suddenly out of the blue came, I think, six to seven terrorist charges”.