New Twist In Murder Inquiry

October 22nd, 1998

Three Saudis with diplomatic passports were held and searched by Customs agents at Sydney Airport on Sunday in connection with the murder investigation of a senior Saudi diplomat in Canberra, reliable sources have revealed.

The men were stopped as a consequence of an airport “alert” set up across Australia for all diplomatic-passport holders, but they were allowed to leave.

Such alerts are set in place after serious diplomatic incidents. This one followed the murder last Tuesday nine days ago of the Saudi Embassy’s First Secretary, Abdullah al Ghamdi.

Police would not comment on the airport searches incident yesterday but Saudi Ambassador Mohamad al Hejailan denied it had even occurred.

“In truth, it never happened,” Mr al Hejailan said. “It would not help Australian police in the effort to catch the criminal. This is a rumour and is not the truth at all. It might help the criminal to get away.

“I see no reason to publicise such news.

“I am trying hard to help the police and give them the opportunity to concentrate on the case. This kind of news will not help anyone.” Sources said the three Saudis had come to Australia with private passports but had left with diplomatic ones.

The change of passport status could have attracted the attention of Customs agents.

It is also not known whether police have fixed their suspicions on any Saudi Arabian connections to the murder or whether it is only one of a number of lines of inquiry that are being followed.

Police are understood to hold to one theory, however, that such a particularly violent attack would have required a very powerful person. Mr al Ghamdi was found dead from knife wounds on Tuesday afternoon last week. Police have said he probably died some time after 1 am, which coincides roughly with a report by a resident of the Oakford Kingston Gardens Apartments that she had heard someone scream in a nearby unit.

Soon after, she had noticed a man running from the apartments to get into a small dark-coloured car, possibly a Hyundai Excel.

The man had been carrying an object that police said later could have been the murder weapon, a knife with a 15 mm-wide blade.

A team of detectives led by Detective-Sergeant Greg Ranse is understood to be closely investigating all of the circles in which Mr al Ghamdi had worked or socialised, including Canberra’s brothel and bar scene and his diplomatic connections with other Middle-Eastern or Islamic communities in Canberra.

Australian Federal Police Commander Brian Hepworth said he could not comment on the airport incident.

Spokesmen for Customs and Foreign Affairs and Trade would not comment either, saying their policies were to avoid commenting on ongoing police investigations or on the movement of diplomats in or out of Australia.

– Peter Clack

About Jumpin' Jack Cash

Deep connections are the most important aspect of my existence. I don’t care if people don’t know what they want. I love books. I’m cynical of love stories, although I’m romantic. I adore gardens. I like women who challenge me. I love the rain as an excuse to stay inside and dream. I'm furiously impatient. If I ask you a question best to tell me the truth as I'm likely to already know the answer. I'm a carnivore. I continuously underestimate the magic of fresh flowers in my home. I love warm rain in the summer. My mood elevates to epic proportions when the sun shines. Tell me not to do something and I'll do it twice and take photos. Running is my antidepressant. I loathe lies. I rarely forgive a lie. Loyalty and honesty are my most noble virtues, and I value them more than anything in other people. I love to love, and am able to fall in love very quickly, although it's only ever happened once. I understood myself and fixed myself only after destroying myself. My greatest excitement comes from deliberately getting lost in foreign cities. I can be extremely loud and frighteningly silent. I hate insinuations. I love storms. Justice for all. I'm a proud man, but welcome the influence of the feminine soul. I have two sisters. I’m a dreamer. I’m a deep thinker. Don’t deal with guilt trips or drama that well. I'm extremely stubborn and persistent. I'm brilliant at keeping secrets. I love driving. I become absolutely and completely lost while watching a burning fire. When the toast pops from the toaster I’m never ready and shit myself. I play the guitar, but require much improvement. Solitude and warmth of the sun are perfect together. I’ve been married once and now divorced. I’m a music junkie. Chocolate mousse is the shit. I curse too much. I find it difficult to make friends. I spent four years as a firefighter. I’ve run my own company since 1991. Bright lights, big cities. I’ve been an executive producer of a feature film. Some people don’t care, and that’s the biggest let-down of the human race. There are cures and solutions for many evils, but no remedy for the worst of them all - the apathy of human beings. The sound of the Italian language being spoken is as good as my favourite music. I hate corrupt cops. I relentlessly and passionately pursue anybody and anything that sets my soul on fire. I'm a dog lover, and all my dogs are considered family members. I have an obsession with photography. I have some close friends who are household names, but shall always remain anonymous. I’m crazy but not lazy. Losing a soulmate has hurt me badly. My two young sons are the nucleus of my universe. I love airports. I love freedom. If you are dishonest or disloyal, I can erase you from my life and memory immediately and permanently. I yearn to explore, dream about and discover as many friendships, deep connections and places, one possibly can in a lifetime.
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