Saudi nurses may get five years

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The Independent Online
Two British nurses accused of murdering an Australian colleague in Saudi Arabia may face only five years in jail, the Saudi ambassador in London said yesterday.

The agreement by Yvonne Gilford's brother to waive the right to demand the death penalty in return for pounds 750,000 had lifted the threat of execution hanging over Deborah Parry, Dr Ghazi Algosaibi said. And Frank Gilford's decision, announced on Wednesday in Australia, meant the judgment against Lucille McLauchlan - who was sentenced 500 lashes and eight years imprisonment for her part in the killing - could also be reviewed.

"According to the Saudi legal system, when the next of kin pardons, as he did, the court will apply the lesser sentence of jail, usually not exceeding five years," Dr Algosaibi said in a statement. Dr Algosaibi added: "The case is not yet over and there are further steps before the final verdict is announced. I do sincerely hope that the media will see fit to declare 'time out' and allow the judges and the lawyers to get on with their jobs."

Earlier Parry's family had said they were "absolutely delighted" that the victim's brother has waived his right to demand the death penalty for her.