FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                         CRM
MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 8, 1997                          (202) 514-2008
                                               TDD (202) 514-1888


     The United States filed a motion today seeking permission to
dismiss its indictment against Hani El-Sayegh.  The June 13
indictment, unsealed June 18, charged him with participation in a
conspiracy, which was never carried out, to kill Americans in Saudi
Arabia.  El-Sayegh remains detained pending removal proceedings
under U.S. immigration law.

     The U.S. District Court in Washington D.C., Judge Emmit G.
Sullivan presiding, will rule on the motion at a hearing Wednesday,
September 10, at 10:00 a.m. 

     El-Sayegh was initially apprehended and placed in deportation
proceedings by Canada following disclosures by the government of
Saudi Arabia concerning his possible involvement in the Khobar
Towers bombing.  Since El-Sayegh had transited, although not
entered, the United States in traveling to Canada, the U.S. was
obligated under an existing bilateral understanding with Canada to
accept custody of him.  

     Prior to his deportation by Canada to the United States, El-
Sayegh made a series of admissions to U.S. investigators, unrelated
to the Khobar Towers bombing, and entered a plea agreement based on
those admissions.  The indictment was returned pursuant to that
plea agreement and the United States immediately sought to develop
corroborative evidence in the event that the matter had to proceed
to trial.  

     Subsequently, El-Sayegh reneged on the plea agreement.  Since
we have not been able to develop the requisite evidence, it is
necessary that this prosecution be withdrawn. 

     The U.S. investigations into both the Khobar Towers bombing
and the separate conspiracy to kill Americans, disclosed by El-
Sayegh, are continuing on a priority basis.  In the event
sufficient evidence is developed to support a successful
prosecution against El-Sayegh or anyone else for involvement in a
terrorist plot or activity against Americans, charges will be

     At this time, immigration removal proceedings against El-
Sayegh are being pursued.  These are the same proceedings that
would have been initiated by the United States in June had El-
Sayegh not entered a plea agreement before being deported by Canada
to the United States.

     Saudi Arabian authorities have advised the U.S. that they plan
to seek extradition of El-Sayegh, based on the Khobar Towers
bombing, in which 19 American military personnel were killed. 
Under a provision of the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty
Act of 1996 extradition is permitted under certain circumstances in
the absence of a bilateral extradition treaty.  It remains the
strong commitment of the United States to bring to justice the
perpetrators of the Khobar Towers bombing. In the event that the
Saudi authorities establish that all of the requisites for
extradition are met, including an adequate evidentiary showing, and
if the requisite evidence for a trial in the United States is not
available to U.S. prosecutors, the United States would respond
appropriately to the Saudi request.