By Arab News
By Ghazanfar Ali Khan
Five thousand and eighty people have been charged with terrorism-related crimes and 1,612 of them sentenced to several years in prison by a Saudi court, the Ministry of Interior announced Saturday.
“The fair judicial process in these cases reflects the Kingdom’s resolve to root out terrorism from its soil, and it also reflects the strong pledge made by Second Deputy Premier and Minister of Interior Prince Naif to eliminate this evil,” said Maj. Gen. Mansour Al-Turki, adding that those convicted belonged to “deviant groups’ and were involved in “terror acts or in inciting terrorist acts.”
Commenting on the reports released by the Bureau of Investigation and Prosecution (BIP), Al-Turki said another 2,215 cases of suspects have been sent to court for trial. Six hundred and sixteen cases are still under investigation, he added.
He made it clear that all suspects were given their rights and all government agencies safeguarded their interests within the framework of the rules and regulations of the Kingdom. To this end, he noted that 5,831 people have also been released in a staggered schedule in the past after they were found innocent. “A total of 184 people were released in the last three months alone,” said Al-Turki.
He said the government had given compensation worth SR32 million to 486 detainees for spending more time in detention than their jail sentence.
Asked about reports that some convicts are still in jail after completing their jail term, Al-Turki said it was because they posed a danger to the public if released.
He said the government had spent more than SR529 million as monthly assistance to families of the terror suspects. More than 858,000 people including relatives and friends have been allowed to visit the detainees during the past four years. They were also allowed to meet their wives.
The BIP said in a statement that it was working to finish the necessary procedures to speed up the trial and execute conviction or release orders on a priority basis.
Saudi Arabia last year released a list of 85 of its most-wanted terrorists. Eighty-three of the individuals are Saudi nationals; the other two are Yemenis.