Saudis release Perth jihadist
Saudis release Perth 'jihadist'

A Perth man jailed in Saudi Arabia on terrorism charges has arrived home after being granted a surprise pardon.

Shayden Thorne flew into Perth Airport yesterday where he was greeted by his mother, his father Graham, his younger brother Junaid and a crowd of wellwishers.

"I'm really, really happy. I have no (more) words to say," Mr Thorne said.

In November 2011 Mr Thorne was arrested by Saudi authorities who alleged jihadist material had been found on his laptop.

The 26-year-old was sentenced to 4½ years jail after Saudi security services claimed he had been plotting a terrorist attack and planned to join al-Qaida.

But Mr Thorne said he admitted the offences only after being tortured, and claimed the laptop had been borrowed from a mosque.

Junaid was also detained by Saudi authorities for a short time and went into hiding after being released.

Junaid was eventually deported and arrived back in Perth in July.

The brothers, who have Aboriginal heritage, were born in Perth but moved to Saudi Arabia in 1996 with their mother's second husband. They are Muslims and had been studying finance at a Saudi university.

Mr Thorne's mother, who does not want to be named, was given assistance by the former US military lawyer Dan Mori who helped get accused terrorist David Hicks out of jail.

"The family is very happy Shayden's home, and anyone who has been detained abroad needs to adjust from the lingering effects of the detention," Mr Mori said.

Mr Thorne's Saudi lawyer, Abdul Jalil Al-Khalidy, said his client had been pardoned by the Saudi Minister of the Interior, partly because of pressure from Australia.

Mr Al-Khalidy, who fled to Canada in June last year when an arrest warrant was issued for him after he raised concerns that Mr Thorne had been tortured, said he had also urged the ministry to review his client's sentence.

Mr Thorne's stepfather, Taoufiq Khiati, who lives in Riyadh, said he had visited his stepson in jail. Junaid recently travelled to Sydney and Melbourne where he was claimed to have delivered a series of lectures at Islamic centres urging support for "oppressed Muslims".

The West Australian

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