After Decades Of Silence, Optimism In Al-Ruwaili Case

    Matrouk and Ateeq Al-Ruwaili

    (3 September) Relatives
    of the Saudi business allegedly abducted and murdered in Bangkok more than 20 years ago have voiced
    their hope that the case is finally moving forward with some progress.

    Mohammad Al-Ruwaili
    went missing in 1989 in the wake of ?Blue Diamond? affairs, in which a Thai national stole a number
    of gemstones from a Saudi royal palace, reportedly including the priceless ?Blue
    Diamond?.

    The theft and the alleged abduction of Mr. Al-Ruwaili, along with the murders of 3
    Saudi diplomats in Bangkok, remain unsolved. The scandals led to a collapse in relationship between
    the 2 kingdoms that lasts to this day.

    It is unclear why Mr. Al-Ruwaili was targeted, but
    media reports in the past have suggested that he was sent by the Saudi royal family to investigate
    the Blue Diamond theft, although Mr. Al-Ruwaili′s relatives have denied such connection in previous
    interviews.

    5 senior police officers were charged with abducting and murdering Mr.
    Al-Ruwaili. The defendants denied the allegation, and the trial is ongoing. Meanwhile, the Saudi
    authorities and the family of Mr. Al-Ruwaili are incensed at the long delay of the
    case.

    Rumours allege that a highly influential figure in Thailand has the Blue Diamond, while
    the Thai authorities have been criticised of their reluctance to prosecute the members of the
    powerful police force.

    However, Matrouk Al-Ruwaili, a cousin of the missing businessman, said
    in an interview after he testified to the Thai court yesterday (2 September) that he is happy to
    see that the case seems to be getting more attention from the Thai authorities.

    It is
    Matrouk′s second time in the Thai court in 3 months, and 3 more court appearances are scheduled in
    the next coming months. A fresh break from the long inactivity in the past 20 years, he
    noted.

    We see progress. We see they are serious about it, Matrouk said, but he also
    lamented that We wish they took the case more seriously from the beginning … government after
    government sidesteps it.

    Earlier in the day, Mr. Matrouk testified to the court as a witness
    in the case. He was cross-examined about what he knew about Mohammad al-Ruwaili, the circumstances
    surrounding his disappearance, and different possible motives of the disappearance.

    The
    session lasted longer than Mr. Matrouk has expected (it started in late morning and concluded at
    17.00). But that is good because it means the court pays a lot of attention to the matter, he told
    our correspondent.

    It was a full-house court session. Also present in the packed courtroom
    were the 5 defendants, a brother of Mohammad Al-Ruwaili, a group of officials from the Saudi
    government, and some officials from the Thai Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

    Ateeq al-Ruwaili,
    the brother of Mohammad al-Ruwaili, also expressed some optimism, saying that he has received some
    form of encouragement that the Thai authorities are close to finalising the case. That′s what we
    feel, Ateeq told our correspondent.

    He added, We are very hopeful about this. Everybody
    wants it to be over.

    Meanwhile, an informed source told Khaosod that the Thai Ministry of
    Foreign Affairs has prioritised the al-Ruwaili case to be the foremost step toward a normalisation
    in the relationship between the 2 nations.

    It appears the current Thai government under Prime
    Minister Yingluck Shinawatra is anxious to solve the matter once and for all, said the source, who
    has requested anonymity due to the sensitive nature of the issue.

    The source continued that
    the Saudi envoys who were observing the trial today are representatives of different Saudi
    ministries and formed a part of decision-making of the Saudi authorities whether it is appropriate
    to normalise the chilled relationship.

    Nevertheless, both Ateeq and Matrouk insisted that the
    Thai authorities still bear the burden to do more in order to shed the light on Mohammad′s fate.
    The issue is not about punishment Matrouk said, We are more concerned about finding the truth.
    Finding the fact, what happened to Mohammad.

    We just want to see the end of the matter. It
    is tiring Ateeq added, Consider that it has been going on for more than 20 years already. People
    should remember it did not start just 1 or 2 years ago.

    Related: Trial Centres On Authenticity Of ?Al-Ruwaili Ring?