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Terror accused praised Obama

The mother of a WA man on trial for terrorism offences in Saudi Arabia says her son's Facebook postings about Osama bin Laden should not be misinterpreted.

Shayden Thorne, 25, was arrested 17 months ago by Saudi secret police and is accused of using a laptop to visit jihadist websites with a view to joining Islamic fighters in Afghanistan.

Mr Thorne said he had borrowed the computer from the Riyadh mosque where he was staying and others had access to it.

He and his 23-year-old brother Junaid, who is in hiding after being jailed for more than two months for protesting against Shayden's imprisonment, have lived in Saudi Arabia since 1996.

His Facebook page lists the former leader of al-Qaida as an inspirational person, along with the words: "Osama bin Laden, God have mercy on him."

That posting, dated November 24, 2011, was made about the same time he was arrested by the Saudi secret police.

Mr Thorne's mother in WA said the comments should not be misconstrued.

"A lot of Saudis find Osama bin Laden inspirational in the sense that he stood up to America," she said. "But this does not mean that they condone his actions or condone terrorism and the acts of Osama bin Laden are not condoned Islamically."

Junaid Thorne said his brother's arrest was prompted by criticism he had made on Facebook regarding rampant corruption of the Saudi Government and the Saudi royal family.

Their 43-year-old mother, who lives in Thornlie, has said the Federal Government has not done enough to help her sons.

She said that she had sought help from the WA Aboriginal Legal Service and spoken to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner Mick Gooda to put pressure on the Government.

Shayden Thorne had his third hearing on Monday in Riyadh's Specialised Criminal Court, a non-sharia court established in 2008 to try suspected terrorists.

During Monday's hearing, Shayden was questioned about his Australian heritage.

"He explained that his father was Australian," an Australian embassy official told Shayden's family in an emailed update.

Before the hearing, Shayden complained of health problems relating to diet and deprivation of sunlight.

"He is allowed into a room without a ceiling to be in sunlight for 10 minutes four times per week," the embassy said.

The West Australian

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