Manama: The father of the Saudi student who was hospitalised with burnt hands following the explosions in Boston insists that his son is innocent and has criticised the media for rushing to brand him a suspect in the attacks.
“My son Abdul Rahman is faring well and he is receiving excellent care at the hospital where he is hospitalised,” Ali Eisa Al Harbi said. “Unfortunately, some print, online and broadcast media rushed into claiming that he was a suspect in the explosions. The reports caused deep fear and panic among his family and I wish the media would exercise more caution when reporting news, especially about those who are not in their homelands,” he said, quoted on Wednesday by Saudi news site Sabq.
The father added that US officials have already declared that his son was not involved in the explosion and that he was just a victim.
“I do value this testimony by the US authorities. My son is fully committed to respecting and complying with all the laws in the US and he cannot nurture any negative attitudes anywhere,” he said.
Initial reports claimed that Abdul Rahman, 20, was under arrest for an alleged role in the twin blasts.
An Israeli site claimed that “the investigation has in fact homed in on a suspected terror cell of three Saudi nationals, very possibly tied to Al Qaida.”
“The flat they share in the Revere, Massachusetts, near Boston, was searched after the questioning of one of the suspects, a Saudi student, who was hospitalised with badly burnt hands,” the site said. “One of his flatmates was taken into custody over ‘visa problems.’ A third is on the run. All three hail from a prominent Saudi family belonging to a tribe from the Asir province bordering on Yemen.”
According to the report, “the origins of the Saudi cell, if confirmed, strongly suggest that Al Qaida [in the Arabian Peninsula] succeeded in planting a cell in the United States for the bombing attack in Boston —and possibly more than one in other parts of the US.”
However, a US law enforcement officer said that the Saudi student whose apartment was searched by the Boston marathon bombing investigators “has been checked out.”
“He is not involved. He is just a victim.,” the officer said, quoted by the Boston Globe on Tuesday.
A Saudi embassy official in Washington reportedly said that US officials had told the diplomatic mission on Monday night that Abdul Rahman was not a suspect and that he was cooperating with the investigation.
“He’s been fully cooperating with authorities. We were informed by US authorities that no Saudi is a suspect,” Nail Al Jubeir told the Boston Globe. “We want to know about it [the investigation] as much as everybody else. We are working very closely with US authorities on this. As of yesterday, we were informed that there were no Saudi suspects. He is more a witness than anything else.”
The father, in his interview with Sabq, said that his son was one of more than 70 people from various nationalities who were asked questions following the explosions.
“It was a routine procedure and they also searched his flat and talked with his roommates. There is nothing that links my son to the explosions,” he said.