A Canadian who was once condemned to death by beheading has been quietly released from a Saudi prison, after almost six years behind bars.
Documents obtained by The Canadian Press indicate that Mohamed Kohail was freed last December.
The documents from the Department of Foreign Affairs, obtained through the Access to Information Act, are redacted and they do not indicate the circumstances under which Kohail was freed.
His story drew international attention in 2007. The ex-Montrealer was sentenced to death for his alleged role in a fatal schoolyard melee.
He and a Jordanian friend were both ordered beheaded, by sword, for their alleged involvement in the killing of a 19-year-old in a brawl that began with an insult to a girl by Kohail’s brother, Sultan.
The brothers have repeatedly said they were acting in self-defence and were not involved in inflicting the fatal wounds during the fight, which had involved dozens of teenagers.
The Kohails’ case has bounced around the Saudi legal system.
The country’s highest court overturned the death penalty for Mohamed Kohail in 2010. Meanwhile, Sultan Kohail had been sentenced to 200 lashes and a year in prison for being an accessory to the crime, before his case was appealed.
Both brothers remain in Saudi Arabia. And both are currently in legal limbo, awaiting news about any developments in their legal status.
In recent months, the family has kept quiet to allow the case to play itself out in the Saudi justice system. They declined to comment on the latest news.