Riyadh to ask Baghdad to release Saudi prisoners

December 14, 2012

Saudi Arabia said that it would ask Iraq to release Saudi prisoners held for crossing borders illegally.

“We are in the process of submitting a request to the Iraqi authorities to pardon some of the Saudi nationals charged with crossing the borders,” Hamad Al Hajiri from the Saudi embassy in Jordan, said.

The embassy in Amman oversees the status of Saudi nationals detained in Iraqi prisons.

The senior official did not mention when the Saudi authorities will submit the request, Saudi Arabic daily Al Watan reported on Monday.

Adnan Al Assadi, the Iraqi interior ministry undersecretary, has reportedly said that Baghdad would release Saudi prisoners if it received a request from Riyadh.

Baghdad has also pledged to facilitate visits by Saudi families to their sons held in Iraqi jails.

However, Al Hajiri said that the embassy in Amman had not received any request from Saudi families for such visits.

In Riyadh, Ghanem Al Jameeli, the Iraqi ambassador to Saudi Arabia, said that the diplomatic mission would facilitate the procedures.

“The embassy welcomes any Saudi family that wishes to visit their son in Iraq,” he said. “We will present our services and we facilitate the visit. All they need is to submit a request and we are ready for everything,” he told the daily.

Last month, Al Hajiri said that 62 Saudi nationals were held in Iraqi prisons and that their sentences were between 10 and 15 years.

Most of the detainees were jailed on charges of crossing the borders illegally, he said.

However, the senior official added that other Saudis who were not on the official list could also be held.

“We are in full contacts with the Saudis on the list. However, there are people who tell us that there are other Saudi detainees. We often rely on families to obtain the names of their sons whom they believe are held in Iraqi prisons. We invariably submit these names to the official authorities for adequate follow-up measures,” he said.

Contacts with the Saudi prisoners are established through lawyers and telephone calls, he said.

“The financial assistance that the Kingdom provides to the detainees in Iraq is relayed by lawyers and we have a system that makes sure that it reaches them,” he said.




About the author

Born August 3, 1960 in Monastir, Tunisia
Media career:
  • ABC News (Tunisia)
  • Bahrain Tribune
  • Gulf News
  • Bahrain Television News
Teaching career:
  • Monastir (Tunisia)
  • University of Bahrain
  • MA  Mass Communications, University of Leicester
  • BA  in English & US literature and studies, University of Tunis

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