Algeria asks Saudi to clarify facts in teen pilgrim's death
Algeria has asked Saudi Arabian authorities for help in clarifying the circumstances over the death of an Algerian teenager in Mecca, a government official said Monday.
"From the moment that this happened, Algeria asked the help of Saudi authorities to clarify the situation," Halim Benatallah, state secretary for the Algerian expatriate community, told French-language radio Chaine III.
"Only the (Saudi) legal authorities are capable of clarifying the facts. We have asked them to do their best ability and (they) have committed themselves in that regard..." he added.
Saudi authorities opened an investigation into the death in mid-September of a 15-year-old Algerian girl whose body was found on the roof of a hotel adjacent to the one in which she was staying.
The Saudi media reported at the time that she threw herself from her hotel balcony to escape an attack. The Algerian press reported that she was raped and then killed.
The Saudi daily Okaz has reported that a Saudi court was probing two Yemenis over the murder and that one of them is also accused of rape. It did not say when the trial would begin.
The Yemenis could face the death sentence under Sharia Islamic law, in force in Saudi Arabia.
The Algerian teenager, who lived in France, had come with her family to the holy city of Mecca to perform the Umrah, or minor Muslim pilgrimage.
© 2010 AFP