47% of prisoners involved in drug crimes

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Updated 01 March 2013
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47% of prisoners involved in drug crimes

About 47 percent of the estimated 47,000 inmates in the Kingdom’s prisons are in jail for drug-related crimes, said Director General of Prisons Maj. Gen. Dr. Ali bin Hussain Al-Harthi.
Al-Harthi was responding to reports that over 70 percent of all prisoners have been incarcerated for trafficking and dealing in illicit drugs.
“This rate has been exaggerated. There are no more than 47 percent of all inmates charged with drug-related crimes,” he was quoted as saying in local media.
Al-Harthi said the prison authorities have various measures in place to prevent drugs being smuggled into prisons by visitors and friends of inmates.
There are 23,000 Saudis and 24,000 foreigners in the Kingdom’s jails, he added.
He said Saudi women account for 6 to 7 percent of the prison population. There are more foreign women than Saudi women in the country’s jails, mostly for minor crimes, he added.
He said the General Directorate of Prisons has built four new prisons with another nine currently under construction.
Al-Harthi said the prison authorities are making sure that inmates are provided with world-class services and care as ordered by Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah.
He denied reports that inmates were being punished with hard labor. He said inmates are involved in projects that will benefit them on their release.
In this regard, an agreement has been concluded with the Saudi Industrial Property Authority (Modon) for the establishment of 120 factories where inmates can find work after completing their prison terms. Modon-affiliated factories also provide work for prisoners who are still completing their sentences.


World applauds as Saudi women take the wheel

A Saudi woman and her friends celebrate her first time driving on a main street of Alkhobar city in eastern Saudi Arabia on her way to Bahrain on June 24, 2018. (AFP / HUSSAIN RADWAN)
Updated 25 June 2018
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World applauds as Saudi women take the wheel

  • As the de facto ban on women driving ended after more than 60 years, women across the Kingdom flooded social media with videos of their first car trips, while some police officers among the large number out on the streets distributed roses to the first-ti
  • The celebrations even reached as far as France, where Aseel Al-Hamad, the first female member of the Saudi national motorsport federation, drove a Formula 1 racing car in a special parade before the French Grand Prix at Le Castellet 

JEDDAH: The world awoke on Sunday to images and video footage many thought they would never see — newly empowered Saudi women taking the wheel and driving their cars.

As the de facto ban on women driving ended after more than 60 years, women across the Kingdom flooded social media with videos of their first car trips, while some police officers among the large number out on the streets distributed roses to the first-time drivers.

The celebrations even reached as far as France, where Aseel Al-Hamad, the first female member of the Saudi national motorsport federation, drove a Formula 1 racing car in a special parade before the French Grand Prix at Le Castellet.

“I hope doing so on the day when women can drive on the roads in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia shows what you can do if you have the passion and the spirit to dream,” she said.

In a tribute to Saudi female drivers, the Lebanese soprano Hiba Tawaji released a special video of a song she performed live in Riyadh at a concert last December “Today women in Saudi Arabia can legally drive their cars,” she said. “Congratulations on this achievement, this one’s for you!”

Back home in Saudi Arabia, the atmosphere was euphoric. “It’s a beautiful day,” businesswoman Samah Algosaibi said as she cruised around the city of Alkhobar. 

“Today we are here,” she said from the driver’s seat. “Yesterday we sat there,” she said, pointing to the back.

“I feel proud, I feel dignified and I feel liberated,” said Saudi Shoura Council member Lina Almaeena, one of the first women to drive in the Kingdom.

She told Arab News that the event was changing her life by “facilitating it, making it more comfortable, making it more pleasant, and making it more stress-free.”

Almaeena urged all drivers to follow the traffic and road safety rules. “What’s making me anxious is the misconduct of a lot of the drivers, the male drivers. Unfortunately they’re not as disciplined as they should be. Simple things such as changing lanes and using your signals — this is making me anxious.

“But I’m confident: I’ve driven all around the world when I travel, especially when I’m familiar with the area. It’s really mainly how to be a defensive driver because you have to be.”