Saudi accused of hiring hit man released from US jail

Saudi student had been charged with paying roommate to kill a 27 year old bar owner
Saudi accused of hiring hit man released from US jail
By Courtney Trenwith
Mon 05 Aug 2013 02:56 PM

Charges have been dropped against a Saudi national in the US who was accused of hiring a hit man to kill a 27-year-old, according to media reports in the US and Saudi Arabia.

Ziyad Abid, who was studying at the US when he was accused of hiring his roommate Reginald Singletary to kill bar owner Blaine Whitworth, has been released from jail, it was reported.

Abid, 24, was charged in September 2012 with premeditated murder and armed criminal action after Singletary told police he committed the murder because Abid paid him.

On Friday, prosecutors told the court they would not pursue the charges due to a lack of evidence, citing the changed testimony of a crucial witness, according to reports. It was not indicated whether the witness was Singletary.

Abid had been repeatedly refused bail despite the Saudi government posting a $2m bond in June.

US Judge Michael Wagner said he was concerned that if released, Abid would be deported by immigration authorities for overstaying his student visa and would not face the criminal charges.

Abid’s defence attorney, Pat Peters, said the decision was unusual.

“Everybody involved with the case has never seen this happen before,” he was quoted as saying in Fox4 News last month.

Abid’s lawyers accused Judge Wagner of being racist and called for him to be removed from the case, arguing the decision to keep Abid locked up was unconstitutional.

Abid had faced life in prison or execution if he was found guilty of the charges.

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