Detained Ugandan’s fate unknown, says embassy.

RIYADH: The whereabouts of a Ugandan executive who was arrested nearly four years ago and detained in a Dammam prison is unknown despite efforts by the country’s embassy to find him.

“The fate of Faheart Huling Oling, 36, is uncertain after he was allegedly transferred to an undisclosed location and the Saudi government has not responded to our diplomatic notes so far,” Abdul Noor Sekindi, the Ugandan Embassy spokesman, said yesterday.

Oling worked as an administrative officer for Al-Rajhi Steel Industries until he was arrested on Sept. 10, 2005, and no charges were ever disclosed. “The embassy was granted one consular access to him late last year, but we were asked not to discuss the case,” said the spokesman.

He said the Ugandan consular officials were told to talk to Oling in English and that too in the presence of Saudi officials. The Ugandan consular officials were not allowed to speak to the detainee in Luganda or Swahili.

“We were told at the time that the case is highly sensitive,” said Sekindi. “Hence, I can’t tell you about charges, which are yet to be framed,” he added.

A group of Ugandan Muslims, led by Oling’s sister Betty Amongi, has petitioned the Ugandan Parliament over the matter.

Oling comes from Oyam district of the east African country. Under Saudi law, a suspect has a right to be promptly notified of the reasons for his arrest or detention and the investigator must inform the detainee of the charges when the accused appears for the first time for an investigation.

Asked whether the Ugandan side has approached any other Saudi officials, the embassy’s spokesman said that “the Saudi Embassy in Kampala has been briefed about this problem.”

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