Saudi Court Sentences Canadian Teen to 1 Year in Prison, 200 Lashes for Role in Classmate's Murder

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

The boy's father, Ali Kohail, told The Associated Press that the family were appealing the sentence to both the court and the king to have it commuted to time served, since the defendant had already spent eight months in custody.

Sultan Kohail, 17, and his brother Mohammed, 23, were detained January 2007 after a school yard brawl resulted in the death of a fellow student from internal injuries.

"We've appealed to the court and within 30 days we will also present a solicitation to the king to pardon Sultan for the remaining four months of imprisonment," said Kohail's father adding, "God willing, he will be pardoned and released, as well as his brother."

Mohammed was convicted March 4 of murdering Syrian Munther al-Haraki in the incident and has already been handed a death sentence, along with a third man, a Jordanian national.

The family lawyer, Saleh al-Ghamdi, confirmed the conviction and plans to appeal.

Canada has said it will seek clemency for Mohammed who was sentenced to death by beheading.

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

Canada's ambassador to Saudi Arabia Ron Davidson has pressed the country's 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.