Kingdom strives to free Saudis from Iraqi jails

Updated 11 December 2012
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Kingdom strives to free Saudis from Iraqi jails

The Saudi Embassy in Jordan, which monitors the affairs of Saudis in Iraqi jails, will apply to the Baghdad government for pardoning prisoners. The prisoners have been charged with illegally crossing the borders of Iraq, Al-Watan daily reported yesterday.
The move follows a recent statement of Adnan Al-Asadi, Iraqi deputy interior minister, that his country would set free Saudi prisoners if Riyadh asked for it.
“Relatives will be allowed to visit the Saudi prisoners,” Minister Plenipotentiary at the Saudi Embassy in Jordan Hamad Al-Hajeri said. The embassy did not receive any visitor applications from relatives of the Saudi prisoners.
Al-Hajeri said the embassy had not received any official communication about the execution of Saudis in Iraq after Ali Al-Shahri had been condemned to death a few weeks ago.
After a meeting of Al-Asadi with Interior Minister Prince Muhammad bin Naif in Riyadh, Iraq and Saudi Arabia decided to set up a joint committee. This committee will take care of the relations between the two countries, especially in matters related to the prisoners in both countries, Al-Hajeri said.
Iraqi Ambassador to the Kingdom Ghanem Al-Jimaili told Al-Watan his country welcomed any Saudi family that wanted to visit its relatives jailed in Iraq. He added that the embassy would remove all obstacles in the way of relatives visiting Saudi prisoners. “They should come to the embassy and we are ready to comply with whatever they want,” the ambassador said.
The Saudi-Iraqi joint committee will begin its work by sorting out logistical problems related to prisoner swaps. They will verify the number of prisoners involved and their names. The committee will also decide on ways to implement the swap agreement, he said.
While there are an estimated 60 Saudi prisoners in Iraqi jails, between 110 and 115 Iraqi prisoners are believed to be spending time in the Kingdom’s jails.
Abdullah Al-Anzi, a Saudi ex-prisoner, who spent about eight years in various prisons in Iraq, said last month that prisoners were exposed to physical and psychological torture, and that he himself had been tortured. “There is a lack of medical care for prisoners in Iraqi jails. I personally did not receive adequate medical care,” he said in a statement.
Tamer Al-Balheed, head of the Committee for Saudi Detainees in Iraq, said members of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corp, as well as the Sadrist Mahdi Army had tortured Al-Anzi.
“This is the case with all Saudi detainees in Iraq. The arbitrary detention of Al-Anzi for eight years against the backdrop of absolute absence of law and sectarian conflict is just an example of the status of those prisoners,” Al-Balheed said.
He revealed that sectarian tensions in Iraq’s prisons reached their height after the 2006 and 2007 bombings of Al-Askari Mosque in Samarra, Iraq. “Following these incidents Sunni prisoners had been forced to travel around in groups of at least seven for fear of retaliation.”


Green light for crown prince-led Saudi privatization program

Updated 25 April 2018
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Green light for crown prince-led Saudi privatization program

  • The Privatization Program is one of 12 key elements of the Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030
  • The program is aimed at increasing job opportunities for Saudi nationals

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s Council of Economic and Development Affairs on Tuesday approved the Privatization Program that is one of 12 key elements of the Kingdom’s Vision 2030. 

The program is aimed at increasing job opportunities for Saudi nationals, attracting the latest technologies and innovations, and supporting economic development.

It encourages both local and foreign investment in order to enhance the role of the private sector, with government entities adopting a regulatory and supervisory role. The aim is to increase the private sector’s contribution to GDP from 40 percent to 65 percent by 2030. 

The program will aim to reach its objectives through encouraging the private sector to invest in establishing new schools, universities and health centers, while the government pursues its organizational and supervisory role in health and education.

The privatization program aims to benefit from previous success stories, with the private sector’s collaboration in the development of infrastructure, and its involvement on a large scale in sectors such as energy, water, transport, telecommunications, petrochemicals and finance.

The program sets out a series of objectives in three areas: Developing a general legal framework for policies related to privatization; establishing organizational foundations and dedicated institutions to execute the policies; and setting a timescale for their delivery. 

The Council of Economic and Development Affairs is headed by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.