2,500 prisoners set free

Updated 05 February 2015

2,500 prisoners set free

More than 2,500 prisoners have been released from jails across the Kingdom following an amnesty declared by Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman on Thursday.
Disclosing this figure, Maj. Abdullah Al-Harbi, spokesman for the Department of Prisons, said the committees appointed for the purpose of selecting prisoners qualifying for release in different regions are working around the clock to implement the amnesty.
Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Naif, second deputy premier and interior minister, has instructed law-enforcement authorities to release public rights prisoners on the basis of certain conditions.
Prisoners held for 14 types of crimes such as murder, drug smuggling, crimes related to weapons and bombs, and money laundering would not benefit from the amnesty.
Other crimes that are not covered by amnesty are rape, kidnapping and highway robbery, opening fire at security officers, armed robbery, crimes that affect state security, forging Saudi currency or stamps of government, banks, signatures of officials and legal documents issued by courts or notaries.
On the basis of Prince Mohammed’s instruction, prisoners held for public rights as well as those who have not committed major crimes would be released and their fines up to SR500,000 written off and lashes would not be carried out.
Brig. Ahmed Al-Shahrani, director of prisons in Jeddah, said he was closely monitoring the measures taken for the release of prisoners qualified for the amnesty.
Al-Shahrani met with some of the released prisoners and told them to become good citizens, keeping away from crimes and engaging in constructive activities.
The prisoners, who have benefited from the amnesty, thanked King Salman as well as the prison authorities. “We have benefited a lot from the department’s cultural and vocational programs,” one Saudi said, adding that the programs also contributed to changing the mindset of prisoners.


Iraq denies links to drone attack on Saudi oil facilities

Updated 6 min 3 sec ago

Iraq denies links to drone attack on Saudi oil facilities

  • The operation was claimed by Iran-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen
  • ‘Iraq is constitutionally committed to preventing any use of its soil to attack its neighbors’

BAGHDAD: Baghdad on Sunday denied any link to drone attacks on Saudi oil plants, after media speculation that the strikes were launched from Iraq despite being claimed by Yemeni rebels.
The attacks early Saturday targeted two key oil installations, causing massive fires and taking out half of the kingdom’s vast oil output.
The operation was claimed by Iran-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen, where a Saudi-led coalition is bogged down in a five-year war.
But the Wall Street Journal has reported that officials were investigating the possibility the attacks involved missiles launched from Iraq or Iran.
Prime Minister Adel Abdel Mahdi on Sunday denied reports Iraqi territory “was used for drone attacks on Saudi oil facilities.”
“Iraq is constitutionally committed to preventing any use of its soil to attack its neighbors,” he said in a statement.
“The Iraqi government will be extremely firm with whomever tries to violate the constitution.”
Iraq is home to several Iran-backed militias and paramilitary factions, placing it in an awkward situation amid rising tensions between its two main sponsors, Tehran and Washington.
United States Secretary of State Mike Pompeo squarely accused Tehran of being behind Saturday’s operation, saying there was no evidence the “unprecedented attack on the world’s energy supply” was launched from Yemen.
Iraq has called for its territory to be spared any spillover in the standoff between the US and Iran, which has included a series of attacks on shipping in sensitive Gulf waters.
Recent raids on bases belonging to Iraqi Shiite paramilitary groups linked with Iran, attributed to Israel, sparked fears of an escalation.
There have been no military consequences so far, but the strikes have heightened divisions between pro-Tehran and pro-Washington factions in Iraq’s political class.
Baghdad has recently moved to repair ties with Saudi Arabia, a key US ally — much to Iran’s chagrin.
Riyadh recently announced a major border post on the Iraqi frontier would reopen mid-October, after being closed for almost three decades.