Anti-terror counseling records 15% relapse rate

Updated 19 March 2016

Anti-terror counseling records 15% relapse rate

DAMMAM: About 15 percent of the young people who underwent counseling for extremist behavior and taking part in conflicts abroad relapsed and returned to these war zones, according to a report issued by the Mohammed bin Naif Counseling and Care Center.

The report said that 3,123 people underwent treatment, 2,502 from Riyadh, and 621 from Jeddah. There were also 3,002 held in prisons locally who went through the sessions, while 121 returned from Guantanamo Bay prison.
There were 16,207 sessions held, in addition to 15 programs for preventive counseling carried out in 12 governorates. There were tailored counseling programs for 309 beneficiaries, and 134 sessions for 27 young women.
In addition, the management of the center provides support for beneficiaries after the sessions are completed, including health, social, education and employment programs. There is also financial aid for the families of poor inmates.
Abdullah Al-Suwailem, a member of the counseling committee at the center, said the sessions are not limited to religious matters, but are supplemented by psychological treatment.
He said there was urgent need to punish those who commit murder, to deter others. The penalties imposed two months ago on several terrorist was an effective deterrent, he said.
Al-Suwailem said there must also be attempts made to close avenues that terrorists use to mislead vulnerable young people, particularly through the media. He said the center plans to open branches across the country, and evaluate the effectiveness of its programs.
Al-Suwailem said many young people are misled by their friends to commit acts of terrorism. They are also sometimes influenced by family members.

Saudi Arabia eases coronavirus lockdown restrictions

Updated 54 min 18 sec ago

Saudi Arabia eases coronavirus lockdown restrictions

  • Curfew to be eased on Sunday, except in Makkah, as domestic travel permitted
  • All curfews in Saudi Arabia to be lifted by June 20

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia announced the easing of restrictions that has halted much of the activity in the country due to the coronavirus pandemic.

As of Sunday 31, May, the curfew on all areas of the Kingdom will be eased, except Makkah. Movement in cities and within the regions of the country will again be permitted, the Saudi Press Agency reported on Tuesday.

The easing will mean the Kingdom’s 24-hour lockdown is relaxed with a curfew from 3 p.m to 6 a.m until Sunday, after which the hours will change to 8 p.m. to 6 a.m.. Makkah will remain under a full 24-hour lockdown.

On June 21, all curfews in the Kingdom will be lifted and prayers at Makkah’s mosque will be permitted.

Before then, social distancing guidelines must continue to be adhered to and gatherings of more than 50 people will continue to be banned.

Authorities have also allowed the attendance at ministries, government agencies and private sector companies, and the return of their office activities.

Some economic and commercial activities will also be allowed to take place including those at wholesale and retail shops, as well as malls. Cafes will be permitted to operate once more.

However, all job sectors where social distancing rules are harder to achieve such as beauty salons, barbershops, sports and health clubs, recreational centers and cinemas will remain closed.

Umrah pilgrimage and international flights will continue to be suspended until further notice.

The new rules are subject to constant evaluation at the health ministry and can be changed if the situation warrants it.

Earlier, Dr. Tawfiq Al-Rabiah, the health minister, said: “The phases start gradually until we return to normalcy, with its new concept based on social distancing.” 

He added that the precautionary steps taken by the Kingdom early in the outbreak helped to limit the spread of the virus. 

Now, he said, the ministry has developed a plan for the next phase that relies on two main factors: The capacity of the health care system to cope with critical cases, and the expansion of testing to identify new infections as soon as possible.

Reassuring the Saudi nation on Monday, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman said: “The bad conditions will pass, God willing, and we are heading toward the good, God willing.” 

The Kingdom recorded 2,235 new cases of COVID-19 on Monday, taking the total to 74,795, and the death toll rose by nine to 399. Worldwide the virus has infected more than 5.5 million people and killed nearly 350,000.