3 held in Qatif judge kidnap case

Updated 02 January 2017

3 held in Qatif judge kidnap case

JEDDAH: Saudi police have arrested three people over the kidnapping of a judge in Qatif, authorities said on Sunday.
A hunt has been launched to nab the other three suspects, according to the Saudi Ministry of Interior.
Ministry security spokesman Maj. Gen. Mansour Al-Turki said investigations are ongoing into the kidnapping of inheritance and endowments circuit Judge Sheikh Mohammad Al-Jirani.
The judge was kidnapped from near his home on Dec. 15. Security authorities have been investigating the case since receiving a report about Al-Jirani’s disappearance.
Those arrested included Abdullah Ali Al-Darweesh, 25; Mazen Ali Al-Qabaah, 40; and Mustafa Ahmad Al-Sahwan, 25.
The three men, Al-Turki said, were tasked by planners to implement the crime.
The other three, who are on the run and who are wanted in the kidnapping case are: Mohammad Hussein Al-Ammar, 35; Haitham Ali Al-Qudaihi, 29; and Ali Bilal Al-Hamed, 22.
Al-Turki said these three suspects were among the wanted criminals announced last October, for their involvement in a number of terrorism crimes in Qatif and Dammam.
Al-Turki, in a press statement, said preliminary information confirms the wanted criminal, Al-Amar, is the mastermind of the operation and had tasked the arrested individuals to monitor and follow the judge in advance of the kidnapping.
The official confirmed that security authorities still do not have any information about the whereabouts of Sheikh Al-Jirani nor his health condition.
The names of others involved in the crime cannot currently be disclosed due to ongoing investigations.
The ministry warned the perpetrators against harming Al-Jirani, and urged them to release him immediately. Should the judge be subjected to any harm, those involved will be held criminally and fully responsible.
The ministry urged all those who have any information about the wanted individuals, or previous announcements regarding the kidnappers, or information about the location of the kidnapped judge, to contact (900) or the nearest security apparatus.
Should future investigations identify any individual that withheld information or had any involvement in the crime, they will be held accountable and considered a partner in the crime, the ministry said.
Anyone who reports information that leads to the arrest of a wanted criminal will be rewarded SR1,000,000 ($266,600), as per a royal decree of 2003, while any information that leads to the arrest of more than one wanted criminal will be rewarded with SR5,000,000.
A reward of SR7,000,000 will be given to anyone who reports information that leads to the thwarting of a terrorist operation.
Authorities speculate that Al-Jirani’s position in opposition of terrorism occurring in Qatif, Al-Awwamiya, and Dammam, and his calls not to transfer funds collected from Shiites in Saudi Arabia to other countries such as Iraq, Iran, and Lebanon to be spent on the poor may have been the motive for his kidnapping.
Al-Turki clarified that while this is possible, the ministry and security agencies cannot speak on behalf of the kidnappers until they have been arrested, investigated, and Al-Jirani freed.
He also noted that there is currently no information about ties between the kidnapping and the incident involving the attack on the mayor of Tarut.
Al-Turki confirmed those arrested were supporters of the kidnappers, and do not have any information about the whereabouts of Al-Jirani, nor information about other individuals that may be targeted among families of Qatif or Dammam.
He said investigation and security efforts in the Kingdom are not based solely on protecting targeted individuals because the primary targets of terrorists are security people themselves. Last year, security men and military officers at the Ministry of Defense were subjected to five terrorist operations, four of which were direct targets of security men of the Ministry of Interior in Qatif and one that targeted a land forces officer in Tabuk. Thankfully, all the terrorists have met their fate due to the efforts and security strategy to fight such crimes, he said.
He said the consensus is that terrorist incidents that occurred in the Kingdom have been supported from foreign countries and originations, but security staff at the ministry are specialized in combatting terrorism within the Kingdom.
Al-Turki said security agencies monitor and pursue all Saudis that have been lured to go to conflict areas and abroad, and are in regular contact with their families in an effort to convince them to return to the Kingdom.
A royal order was issued criminalyzing travel to conflict zones, with is punishable with a jail sentence of at least three years prior to transfer to Prince Mohammed bin Nayef Counseling and Care Center.
Al-Turki said the number of Saudis abroad has reached nearly 2,100 citizens, including women and children, noting that the fight against terrorism requires the effort of the entire Saudi community in order to combat and promote the negative effects of these extremist ideologies.
He concluded by saying that the escape of the kidnappers abroad is possible, but unlikely, as there is upmost trust in the work of security authorities and agencies at border posts and ports.

Saudi, UAE officials discuss Hajj preparations

Updated 15 min 53 sec ago

Saudi, UAE officials discuss Hajj preparations

  • Mashat stressed the Saudi government’s keenness to serve pilgrims

MAKKAH: Deputy Hajj and Umrah Minister Abdul Fattah Mashat received in his office in Makkah on Tuesday the director general of the General Authority for Islamic Affairs in the UAE and his delegation.

The meeting came within the framework of early preparations for the next Hajj season, including coordinating arrangements for pilgrims and services provided for them.

During the meeting, issues of common interest related to Hajj were discussed, at the forefront of which were the facilities provided to pilgrims and easy completion of their procedures.

Then an official meeting was held to discuss arrangements and early preparations to serve pilgrims from the UAE. Subsequently, Mashat and the director general signed an agreement for Hajj arrangements.

In a press statement after the signing, Mashat stressed the Saudi government’s keenness to serve pilgrims.

The director general thanked the Saudi government and all those in charge of the Hajj system for their great efforts.

“We see excellence and advancement in the Hajj management system and by Saudi human cadres,” he said.

“We wish them all the best, and we in the UAE are part of this system and a partner in the service of pilgrims.”