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Relatives say Saudi sought by FBI back home

Saud A.S. al-Rasheed
Saud A.S. al-Rasheed  

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- A Saudi national whom the FBI and Interpol have been looking for is back in Saudi Arabia, the man's father and cousin told CNN Saturday.

Saud A.S. al-Rasheed, 21, returned to his family and contacted police because he was concerned that he was the subject of a terror-related investigation, the family members said.

Authorities have questioned him, they said.

In an interview with the Arab News, based in Saudi Arabia, the father, Abdul Aziz al-Rasheed, denied that his son had links to terror and said he never visited the United States or any European country.

An FBI spokeswoman said she could not confirm the report.

Al-Rasheed's passport image and photograph turned up during the investigation of the September 11 terrorist suicide hijackings. The FBI issued a nationwide alert Tuesday to stop and detain the man, who has not been charged or indicted in any crime.

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FBI officials said they want to question him and consider him to be armed and dangerous.

According to the FBI, on August 15, "materials previously recovered during the war on terrorism were found to be related to several of the September 11 hijackers."

Among those materials was a CD-ROM recovered in Pakistan, containing pictures of several of the September 11 hijackers and an image of Al-Rasheed's Saudi passport, which bears the number C161433.

Al-Rasheed's passport was issued in Riyadh in May 2000. Sources said there is a possibility the document is fake.

There is no indication that he tried to gain entry into the United States using the name and passport.

He was the only person on the CD-ROM who was not a September 11 hijacker, and he was not known to U.S. intelligence before the disc was recovered.

The father was quoted in the Arab News as saying that "everyone knows that Saud is innocent and that the information published (by the FBI) is baseless."

According to the article, which repeats comments the father made to the Al-Yaum newspaper, the father said his son was on a holiday in Egypt three days before the FBI alert went out. The report also said Al-Rasheed is now back in Riyadh.

"I asked him to come back fearing he might be arrested," the father was quoted as saying. He reportedly said he promised to work with Saudi authorities to establish the innocence of his son.

The father said his son spent a year in Afghanistan to "take part in charity activities" and returned to Saudi Arabia "four months after the September attacks."

Freelance journalist Khaled al Maeena contributed to this report.




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