BURAIDAH: GHAZANFAR ALI KHAN
Published — Saturday 9 March 2013
Last update 10 March 2013 2:44 am
The Kingdom has detained 551 foreigners of 41 different nationalities including Asian and Arab expatriates on crime and terror-related charges, said Maj. Gen. Mansour Al-Turki, the spokesman of the Ministry of Interior, here Thursday night. “In fact, a total of 2,772 Saudi citizens and 551 expatriates are held in security prisons across the country today,” said Al-Turki, adding that 178 people were previously arrested in Qatif by security agencies besides those detained recently in the central city of Buraidah.
Addressing a press conference at the Buraidah police headquarters, Al-Turki said: “The members of certain deviant groups and those protesting outside government offices in Qassim were taken into custody after security officers on the spot failed to convince them to end their unlawful demonstration.” On Thursday, Al-Turki took a group of journalists on board a special plane from Riyadh to Buraidah, the provincial capital of Qassim province, for the press briefing.
Referring to the expatriates deported on terror-related charges, he pointed out that 342 foreigners were deported by the Kingdom in the last four months. He said a large number of those involved in Qatif riots have also been released. “An Egyptian national, identified as an accomplice of the protesters in Buraidah, was arrested recently,” said Al-Turki, while giving details of the unlawful protests made by people in Buraidah and Qatif.
He pointed out that “many of the cases involving Saudi men and women have either been finalized or are at various stages of judicial scrutiny in different parts of the Kingdom.” Al-Turki said 3,075 people, whose cases have been settled by the courts in different provinces of the Kingdom, have either been released or are awaiting release as their papers are being finalized by agencies.
Referring to the “rumors” and the “misleading information” uploaded on social networking sites that encouraged the demonstrators to assemble and protest, he criticized the online activists of using media to stir up demonstrations. He said the online activists have been giving “exaggerated figures” about the number of people detained in the Kingdom. This prompted demonstrations, culminating in the arrest of 161 people in Buraidah last week.
“People are trying to misusing information technology to spread rumors and allegations aimed at sparking strife and anarchy in the Kingdom. Many men and women are resorting to skepticism and using IT tools to simplify crimes committed by armed groups and deviant groups to influence public opinion and judicial process,” added Al-Turki, while calling on people to refrain from this practice.
The spokesman expressed his concerns about the misuse of technology and said that rumormongers have gone as far as organizing demonstrations in front of the office of Bureau of Investigation and Prosecution in Buraidah and also in Qatif. Those detained in Buraidah are facing the legal process. “Many of them have been released in Buraidah, as we all know,” he added. “In fact, a total of 1,590 people detained on various allegations ranging from involvement in crime, militancy to terrorism are facing trial across the country,” said Al-Truki.