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 FBI picks up Saudi computer science student from campus

RIYADH, 25 October — The Federal Bureau of Investigation in the United States yesterday arrested a Saudi student, Khaled Sami Hussein, 22, who is studying computer science in a Santa Monica college. He was picked up from the campus and no reason has been given for the arrest.

His stepfather Muhammad Al-Reefi said that Khaled had called him up two days ago and said that several Saudi students, some his friends, had been arrested and later released after interrogations. “And he too feared being arrested as he (Khaled) had seen plainclothes police following him for some days now,” Al-Reefi said.

Khaled went to the Saudi consulate in Los Angeles and expressed his fears to officials there. They told him not to worry and if at all the US authorities took him in, then it would be only a routine matter and advised him to cooperate with the police.

Two days ago Khaled ran to his college when he saw his stalkers trying to catch him. He thought they were some Arab bashers. When he arrived at the college the police arrested him and they have set a bail of $500,000 for his release, said Al-Reefi. The embassy has appointed an attorney to defend Khaled. Al-Reefi denied that Khaled had any connection with the suspected hijackers or any other terrorists.

Meanwhile, the central bank of the United Arab Emirates admitted yesterday that about $100,000 transferred from the state to Florida could be linked to the Sept. 11 suicide hijackers.

Central Bank Governor Sultan ibn Nasser Al-Suwaidi said the money went from an exchange house in the emirate of Sharjah to a bank in Florida. “There were some transfers of money last year and this year,” he said, and when pressed for details added there had been four transactions over six months last year and this year.

But he did not disclose the name of the exchange house or the exact amount involved. The Los Angeles Times has reported that two of the suspected hijackers, Muhammad Atta and Marwan Al-Shehhi, the latter a UAE national, held bank accounts with Citibank and HSBC in the UAE before going to the United States.

Suwaidi told a press conference that if the United States had granted visas to the pair to allow them to follow training courses there, the UAE should not be blamed for dealing with them. Several Arab suspects are believed to have undergone flight training in Florida. However, as Al-Suwaidi sought to distance the UAE from any wrongdoing, the press conference ended in confusion. The names of the suspicious accounts in the local branches of Citibank and HSBC were only similar to the names of the hijackers, Al-Suwaidi said.

Source: SPA©



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