Saudi prisoners in Iraq unsafe
The plight of Saudi prisoners in Iraq has worsened because of the attacks on prisons in the country over the past week by an extremist group, the Kingdom’s officials said recently.
Sami Al-Saleh, Saudi ambassador to Jordan, said that he spoke to officials at the Iraqi Embassy in Jordan about the welfare of the prisoners because of the escalating violence in the country.
The Saudi Detainees Committee said the Kingdom’s prisoners are in a “dangerous” situation because of the operations in Iraq by the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), known in Arabic as “Daesh.”
Thamer bin Abdullah Al-Balheed, chairman of the committee, has recommended that 25 Saudis from Al-Rusafat prison, of whom 17 have already been pardoned, be transferred to Al-Nasiriya, which holds 25 other Saudi inmates.
Al-Balheed said that the committee has not been able to communicate with Saudi prisoners for three months. The Saudi inmates are living in poor conditions and suffering from infectious diseases, he said.
Al-Balheed said the committee does not know what happened to five Saudis who were sentenced to death.
“We do not have any information about them, but they are very close to the armed conflict because they are imprisoned at Al-Kathimiya prison in central Baghdad.
He said that if they are captured by armed individuals, there was the danger of them not making it back to the Kingdom. He said this was the situation in 2007 when only two out of 30 Saudi prisoners managed to return home after being removed from Iraqi prisons. They were part of a larger group of 60 Arab prisoners.
A Saudi delegation comprising families of detainees recently visited Iraq, but could not meet the Iraqi prime minister and parliamentarians.