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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 8, 1997

CRM (202) 514-2008 TDD (202) 514-1888

JUSTICE DEPARTMENT TO DISMISS EL-SAYEGH INDICTMENT The United States filed a motion today seeking permission to dismiss its indictment against Hani El-Sayegh. The June 13 indictment, unsealed June 18, charged him with participation in a conspiracy, which was never carried out, to kill Americans in Saudi Arabia. El-Sayegh remains detained pending removal proceedings under U.S. immigration law. The U.S. District Court in Washington D.C., Judge Emmit G. Sullivan presiding, will rule on the motion at a hearing Wednesday, September 10, at 10:00 a.m. El-Sayegh was initially apprehended and placed in deportation proceedings by Canada following disclosures by the government of Saudi Arabia concerning his possible involvement in the Khobar Towers bombing. Since El-Sayegh had transited, although not entered, the United States in traveling to Canada, the U.S. was obligated under an existing bilateral understanding with Canada to accept custody of him. Prior to his deportation by Canada to the United States, ElSayegh made a series of admissions to U.S. investigators, unrelated to the Khobar Towers bombing, and entered a plea agreement based on those admissions. The indictment was returned pursuant to that plea agreement and the United States immediately sought to develop corroborative evidence in the event that the matter had to proceed to trial. Subsequently, El-Sayegh reneged on the plea agreement. Since we have not been able to develop the requisite evidence, it is necessary that this prosecution be withdrawn. The U.S. investigations into both the Khobar Towers bombing and the separate conspiracy to kill Americans, disclosed by ElSayegh, are continuing on a priority basis. In the event sufficient evidence is developed to support a successful prosecution against El-Sayegh or anyone else for involvement in a terrorist plot or activity against Americans, charges will be brought. At this time, immigration removal proceedings against ElSayegh are being pursued. These are the same proceedings that would have been initiated by the United States in June had ElSayegh not entered a plea agreement before being deported by Canada to the United States. Saudi Arabian authorities have advised the U.S. that they plan

to seek extradition of El-Sayegh, based on the Khobar Towers bombing, in which 19 American military personnel were killed. Under a provision of the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996 extradition is permitted under certain circumstances in the absence of a bilateral extradition treaty. It remains the strong commitment of the United States to bring to justice the perpetrators of the Khobar Towers bombing. In the event that the Saudi authorities establish that all of the requisites for extradition are met, including an adequate evidentiary showing, and if the requisite evidence for a trial in the United States is not available to U.S. prosecutors, the United States would respond appropriately to the Saudi request. ### 97-371