Iraqi inmates abused at Saudi prisons

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By Dalya Ahmad

Azzaman, April 4, 2014

Iraq has accused Saudi Arabia of abusing its detainees held at Saudi prisons.

The Ministry of Human Rights said it asked the Saudis to grant Iraqi investigators permission to visit Iraqi inmates incarcerated in Saudi prisons.

“We call on Arab and international human rights organizations to follow up on the conditions of Iraqi prisoners in Saudi jails,” a statement by the ministry said.

The statement said the ministry obtained its information on the mistreatment of Iraqi prisoners in Saudi Arabia from relatives of inmates in Iraq.

“The reports we have point to abuses which mount to a violation of human rights,” the statement added. “We are concerned about our Iraqi countrymen imprisoned in Saudi Arabia.”

The statement did not say how many Iraqis were being held by Saudi Arabia.

Iraq holds many Saudi citizens in its prisons after being charged with the perpetration of terror attacks. Some of them are sentenced to death but the verdicts are put on hold.

The Saudis have suggested a prisoner exchange but Iraqi authorities say it is not fair to equate ‘terrorists’ with Iraqi inmates held by Riyadh for ‘petty criminal offenses.’

The statement said the ministry has asked Iraqi government to raise the issue with the Saudi authorities.

“This is not meddling in Saudi judicial decisions … but the issue concerns the life of our citizens and we are morally and humanly under obligation to look after our people in whichever country they are,” the statement said