Saudi Logic

This is a second hand but alarming Tale told by my friend William, an American lawyer who worked for many years in Saudi Arabia.

One day he went to meet a business colleague at a tea-house in Riyadh, but his colleague never turned up. William was unable to contact him or find out where he was. Eventually William found him in one of the Riyadh prisons.

Prison in Saudi Arabia is no picnic. In summer it is hot. There is no limit on how long you can be held. You are held until the authorities see fit to release you. Unless you have money, friends or contacts, you are not even fed.

William got friendly with the prison guards and paid for his colleague to be fed. Eventually he was allowed to see him and heard what had happened.

His colleague and a female companion had hired a taxi to go to the meeting with William. On the way they were in a road accident in which a Saudi was killed.

The mutawa, the religious police, arrived and arrested both the Egyptian taxi driver and his male passenger, who protested that he was just a passenger. The police told him that if he had not taken the taxi, the accident would not have happened, and the dead man would still be alive – faultless Saudi logic.

The police did not arrest the lady passenger but escorted her back to her hotel. This is a courtesy required by the Koran.

William never knew what happened to the Egyptian taxi driver. Fortunately he was insured and blood money was paid to the dead man’s family, and after ten days his colleague was released.

After this searing experience his colleague left Saudi Arabia immediately and never returned


See also:  Jogging in Tehran

Chris Thorpe

Chris Thorpe is a respected independent lawyer in the upstream oil and gas industry, and an established lecturer and author. Chris has a LLB in law from Magdalene College, Cambridge and trained as a barrister in London. He worked for eight years' as an in-house lawyer for BP and Marathon. Since 1991, Chris has run his own upstream legal practice, CPTL, which has acted for many upstream clients. He has extensive experience of international upstream transactions, principally in the North Sea, the FSU, Africa and the Middle East. Chris has spoken at many UK and International Conferences and Seminars, both public and in-house. His most popular current lecture is Fundamental of Upstream Petroleum Agreements, a two-day course with accompanying book.