As of the date of this update, much of the material in this file is
no longer current, but since the story has not been widely publicised
around the world, and since the Saudi "justice system" seemingly
has reached no conclusion in the case, I will continue to update
the file. If it serves no other useful purpose,
it is possible that it may just convince a few
other nurses that might be considering reaching for the big money that
is offered for working in Saudi Arabia, that working in a country where
women's rights are virtually non-existant, and where they will be subject
to what are, by western standards, a system of barbaric laws and
punishments, might very well be hazardous to their health.
They might be lucky,...and they might not!
Lucille McLauchlan and Deborah Parry HAVE NOT been lucky!
On the 7th of December 1976 Yvonne Gilford was found brutally
murdered in her room in a hospital compound in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia.
Shortly afterward the saudis arrested two of her fellow nurses and
charged them with Yvonne's murder. They were apparently interrogated
for six days and nights and allowed no contact with their embassy or
legal counsel. During this intense questioning with little or no sleep
they were forced to confess to the crime and were told they would only
be deported if they pleaded guilty to the judge. This has proven to be a
lie. The confessions were withdrawn by the girls when they were advised
by their embassy of what the implications of the confessions were, that
were forced from them under extreme duress!
They will be shortly "tried" for the murder and if found guilty
will be publicly beheaded by the sword in the public square in Dhahran!
There are several possible outcomes. A royal pardon, which is very
unlikely, or under islamic law, the nearest relative of the victim is
given the option of deciding what the penalty should be. It could be
anything from death by beheading, to prison, to being required to pay
"blood money", to clemency and deportation.
The brother, Mr.Frank Gilford of Jamestown, South Australia,
therefore has the power of life or death over these unfortunate women!
He seems to have the quaint notion that they have some chance of a
fair trial in Saudi Arabia, and has stated that he wants them to be
beheaded if they are found guilty! Under Saudi Arabia's religious
laws a woman can suffer the lash, or jail, or both, for merely being
observed failing to avert her eyes when a man walks by! .... A fair
...And pigs might fly!
An Australian nurse, Lydia Laube, who spent several years working in
the King Fahd hospital in Medina, Saudi Arabia, related some hair raising
tales in the Brisbane Courier-Mail on Sunday June 1st. She has written a
couple of books about her stay in Saudi Arabia. They are: "Behind the
Veil", and "The Long Way Home".
I would also recommend "Daughters of Arabia" and "Princess",
by Jean Sasson (Bantam).
Frank Halliwell e-mail= firstname.lastname@example.org
Two women chose to spend their lives in caring for the ill,
They sought adventure in a savage land.
They stand accused of murder of a comrade and a friend,
Their lives held in the victim's brother's hand.
When the mullahs find them guilty and they're taken to the square,
The flashing steel will end their lives on earth.
...A moment's entertainment for a crowd of laughing men
Will show us what a woman's life is worth!
Consider woman's sorry lot in this barbaric land
When out in public they must wear the veil,
Imprisonment and flogging, for just looking at a man
Will earn the wayward sinner time in jail!
Extracting a confession is an easy thing to do
When prisoners are scared and lacking sleep.
The questioners have no restraints.. conviction is their aim
And all is fair, where women's lives are cheap.
..Has he really thought it out,.. and has he wondered why
..It's happened in the same place twice before?
Two years before, another nurse was in the same place killed
Her room was found afloat with blood and gore!
Wouldn't that suggest to you that maybe someone else
Is prowling still around those compound halls?
And sometime in the future, yet another luckless nurse
Will die within that compound's cloistered walls.
* * *
I ask you Mr.Gilford now, what do you think Yvonne
would think about this deadly game with women held as pawns?
Alone in jail these long, long months, away from home and friends
I rather think that if she could, Yvonne would make amends.
Their lives are in your hands of course, I'm sure that you must know
the verdict was decided for them many months ago.
I feel your pain and anger friend, and I can understand
your wish to see a just outcome from this barbaric land.
They needed a conviction so the case could be resolved...
They forced the two confessions... so now their case is solved!
I'm sure your burden's heavy and I'm sure you know of course..
The wrong decision now may mean a lifetime of remorse!
What would Yvonne herself decide, ...a gentle caring nurse?
..To vent the rage upon her friends, I think would be perverse!
But time is short, and so is life, and you must soon decide
To hang your head in sorry shame,.. or hold it high with pride?
My wish for you is wisdom, friend, I hope that by your hand...
The blood of these two guiltless girls won't stain the desert sand.
Good Morning, .. Mr.Gilford
I doubt that you enjoy the role that fate has cast you in,
..To stand in judgement of two girls,. reject their grieving kin
I'm sure that they are innocent! .. I'd like to see them freed!
But all around you folks will give opinions you don't need.
I feel this is a travesty, but I'm no bleeding heart
The punishment should fit the crime! I'd like to see us start...
Anita Cobby's killers might be the first, I'd say
I'd slowly tow them round and round, out in Port Philip Bay!
When they had been recycled we'd go back to the dock
And Martin Bryant could be towed until he got the shock.
Think back to other murders of which you may have read..
How many girls were guilty, when other girls were dead?
Your sister's life was lost last year to man or men unknown,
The girls were framed to fill a need, after the men had flown!
I hope that I can reach you and convince you of what's best!
I wish it was all over, so I could get some rest!
I doubt that I can offer you enough to stay your hand
But I cannot stand idly by and never raise my hand
In aid of two defenceless girls in peril of the sword
From one whose unique power now, must make him feel a lord!
I'm living on the pension, and not high on the hog,
I share my place with one small cat, a donkey and two dogs.
I've spent thousands in the past on lots of foolish things
With real contentment seldom found, that something worthwhile brings.
I don't have Kerry Packer's wealth or lakes of arab gold
I'm thankful though I have my health and that my heart's not cold.
My friends may think that I'm a dill,.. I well may be a dope,
For I don't know these nurses from a bar of bloody soap!
But folded with this poem friend, you'll find a cashier's cheque
It's made out for two thousand, ...a thousand for each neck,
I doubt that you will take it, but if you do relent,
I'll go my way rejoicing and consider it well spent.
I'm told that vengeance is reserved unto your god himself,
I hope that when you've done your worst, you can forgive yourself..
D E C I S I O N
The night is black, the silence is intense and all is still,
The din of battle's faded, I still hear the trumpets shrill.
The battlefield is empty now, the combatants are gone.
There's desolation all around, as I await the dawn.
On the far eastern horizon do I see a gleam of light?
Is the time of sorrow ending with the parting of the night?
Not yet, the darkness seems to say, not yet, you must relax...
But still the tears course down my cheeks,..finality it lacks!
I know that I have fought the fight and done my level best!
My heart therefore should be at ease,..it pounds within my chest,
And far away in saudi land I'm sure that just like me,
Two luckless women toss and turn and wonder what will be;
. . . .
Will the light of his forgiveness shine before the muezzin calls?
Will he garner understanding that these women haven't sinned?
Will he make the right decision before the scimitar falls?
Or be driven without courage, as the sand before the wind?
Will events overtake him and barbarity prevail,
Where laws are vile and brutal and the justice is unclean?
My face is wet with bitter tears for two strangers in jail,
And my heart cries out for justice in a desert I've not seen.
It looks like it's a murder,
He dares not say they lied!
The doctor must be careful
The police say "suicide"
A post-mortem is needed,
And he must be discreet...
"But how can it be suicide?
She has no hands or feet!"
She had been a young house-maid
The doctor must assert....
She met her death by her own hand,
...True justice to pervert.
But in the end he has no choice,
He'll do as they direct
Refusal would be perilous!
..Police must be correct!
One verdict has been handed down
The lawyers have their fee.
They'll head off with their briefcases,
For they at least are free.
No evidence was ever seen,
No witnesses were called,
The trial was held in secret,
The press was not involved.
Accused held incognito
Their right to speak denied..
Their right to present evidence..
..To help them brushed aside.
Within the women's quarters
In the compound's cloistered yard..
Men have no access to this place,
...Except the royal guard.
Are royal guards a special breed
Immune to nature's needs?
Or would their friends not feel inclined
To cover their misdeeds?
The murder scene was locked up tight,
No one allowed inside.
It somehow makes one wonder...
Just what there was to hide.
One sentence is decided
It's barbarity would stun!
And only the naive believe
That justice will be done!
Yvonne Gilford has been just the latest victim in a long series
of murders of nurses in hospital compounds in Saudi Arabia over
the last 15 years or so. In -each case,the police have arrested
some convenient foreign nursing staff and charged them with
the murder. In each known case,the nurses charged have been found
guilty of the murder and the decision as to whether they will
be beheaded or not has been foisted on the victim's relatives!
The relatives have always decided on some lesser penalty than
the public beheadings customary in Saudi Arabia.
The trials have always been held in secret!
One might reasonably question why so many murderous nurses
seem to take up employment in Saudi hospitals!
.....Or is there another answer?
A FEW FACTS...
Women are forbidden to drive in Saudi Arabia
They must have their husband's permission, and a male relative to
chaperone them to be allowed to leave their homes.
They must be covered completely from head to toe when out in
public under pain of jail or the lash, or both!
Getting People to confess to ANYTHING is easy in Saudi Arabia.
The Saudi police are equipped with electro-shock torture
devices with which they may "persuade" the accused to confess!
These forced confessions are accepted as a matter of routine
as proof of guilt by Saudi courts.
There are documented instances of saudi doctors certifying the
deaths of young foreign housemaids as suicide when the body of the deceased
girl had both hands and both feet cut off. *
The news media has been denied access to both the alleged crime
scene and the trial itself.
In a meeting, secretly filmed, Royal Ordnance sales manager
Phillip Morris said that RO had provided 8,000 electro-shock batons to
Saudi Arabia five years ago as part of the "Al-Yamamah" arms deal.
Electro-shock batons turned up in the hands of the Saudi police in
the early 1990s. According to Amnesty International, they are being
used to torture prisoners in Saudi jails.
The prison facility where the nurses have spent the last sixteen months
in 45 degree heat has no air-conditioning and the total sanitary
facilities amount to four holes dug in the floor to accomodate the
seventy women held there! The place is infested with flies and
cockroaches and the british government has described the conditions
in the saudi prison as "primeval"!
* Daughters of Arabia - Jean Sasson
The Board of Governors,
The Womens and Childrens Hospital
Recent comments by a member of your hospital's governing body
suggest that the hospital board are going to seriously consider Mr.
Frank Gilford's offer of a million dollars to fund a new wing for the
hospital in memory of his sister!
Mr Gilford has probably just made australian legal history by
virtue of his demanding, and receiving $1,700,000.00 as payment for
agreeing not to demand the death penalty in the event of british nurse
Deborah Parry being found guilty of his sister's murder!
Saudi law stipulates that the relatives of the victim of a murder
may demand "blood money" from a person convicted of murder in lieu of
the death penalty. This is normally the price of a hundred camels if
the victim is a male. In the event of a woman victim, "blood money" is
the going rate for fifty camels, which according to Mr. Gilford is
about $19,000 in to-day's money. This massive payout to Mr. Gilford is
not then, "blood money", but rather what amounts to a huge ransom!
A helpless woman in a saudi jail has been forced under pain
of death by beheading, into agreeing to pay Gilford this huge amount
of money, as the only reasonable way she could hope to survive her
ordeal in saudi arabia! Apparently the ransom is to be collected by
public subscription in britain, making not only Parry, but also the
british public, victims of this unique case of legal blackmail!
Whatever he decides to use the money for, this 1.7 million dollars
has been obtained with menaces. It has been a case of blatant blackmail! No
one else in the country would be allowed to obtain money by such means
and neither should Gilford!
I am appalled that your hospital would even consider taking this
money which has been gained by means that any reasonable person must
consider immoral! To take the money would amount to putting the
hospital's stamp of approval on the way it was extracted! The end,
however worthy, certainly does not justify the means, regardless of
how attractive the offer may be! The money is tainted, and should be
Sunday, April 19/98.
According to the BBC, the British prime minister, Tony Blair, was
assured yesterday by the Saudi crown prince that ,"serious consideration
would be given" to the early release of the two nurses accused
of the murder of Yvonne Gilford.
More Recent NEWS:
Sunday, April 25/98.
The ruler of Saudi Arabia, King Faud, is reported to
be "considering with compassion" an appeal by the families of
the two nurses, for a royal pardon and release, according to a
report in the Saudi al Riyadh newspaper this week.
THE LATEST NEWS:
Thursday May 21/98.
Television reports in Australia over the last two days have given
conflicting information regarding the alleged imminent release of
the two nurses from their saudi prison. The apparent pardon from
King Faud is yet to be made official. Considering that no conviction
was ever announced in the case of Deborah Parry, one might wonder
just what she is being pardoned from?
It is considered by some that she is unlikely to survive the "punishment"!
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