Kingdom Denies Mistreating Al-Qaeda Suspects

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The official spokesman for the Interior Ministry of Saudi Arabia, Maj. Gen. Mansour al-Turki, discusses al-Qaeda’s recruitment efforts in the Kingdom and denies that prisoners are being mistreated in Saudi prisons.

The official spokesman for the Saudi Interior Ministry, Maj. Gen. Mansour al-Turki, stated that people are trying to exploit  information technology to spread rumors and allegations aimed at sparking strife.

These people are resorting to skepticism by simplifying crimes committed by arm groups opposed to the state in a bid to win the related legal procedures, he said. Turki also pointed out that the rumors circulating about the death of the detainee Mufleh Mazaf al-Ghamdi are not true, adding that the arrested Suleiman al-Alwan is receiving the necessary medical care and that he was admitted to hospital for treatment yesterday [Nov. 18].

Turki told Al-Hayat over the phone that a number of those spreading rumors are following al-Qaeda's recruitment approach in order to influence people and use them to implement their agendas. In fact, he accused al-Qaeda of using a Takfiri approach, while he claimed that those who spread rumors use skepticism, by simplifying crimes committed by armed groups opposed to the state in a bid to win related legal procedures.

Turki said that the "rumor spreaders" have gone as far as organizing a rally in front of a prison in a bid to challenge the authority of the prison system and spread rumors aimed at causing strife among the parents of arrested individuals.

Concerning the rumors about the death of detainee Ghamdi and the deteriorating health condition of Alwan, Turki said that "the rumors circulating about the death of Ghamdi are unfounded,” adding that he is currently appearing before the Specialized Criminal Court, charged with a number of crimes.

“These include alleged affiliation with al-Qaeda; establishing contact with the leader of the organization; traveling to Afghanistan and returning illegally to the kingdom; arranging for the illegal entry of al-Qaeda members into the kingdom; renting sites equipped with arms to shelter al-Qaeda leaders and elements in Saudi Arabia and fundraising for al-Qaeda,” Turki said.

“As for the detainee Alwan, he has been transported to Riyadh and admitted to hospital for treatment yesterday as he is suffering from gallstones. He is receiving the medical care that he needs and is now appearing before the Specialized Criminal Court on charges including terrorist financing, supporting, legislating and inciting terrorist acts, establishing links and contacts with the leaders and members of a terrorist organization and covering for people wanted by the security authorities," he added.

Turki pointed out that prisons in the kingdom are subject to rumors, but controlled by three judicial and humanitarian sides — the Investigation and Prosecution Commission, the Human Rights Commission and the National Assembly for Human Rights.

Prisoners appear in public trials attended by their lawyers and parents, representatives of the Human Rights Commission and correspondents from various local media outlets.

“Hundreds of parents of detainees visit them on a daily basis in Saudi jails,” he added.

Concerning the health conditions of the detainees, Maj. Gen. Turki said: “All those communicating with detainees or have surveillance responsibilities in the prison know that the detainees benefit from integrated medical services, and when in need, detainees are admitted to hospital, and this has already been done in a number of cases.”

Turki said that some people were circulating a number of names of inmates, claiming that these persons have been detained for years without charge or trial.

He explained: “The security authorities are dealing with the detainees belonging to al-Qaeda based on evidence and indications that confirm the detainees' involvement in terrorist schemes, crimes and activities. Their role ends with the end of the preparation of integrated files for each of the detainees, along with evidence upon which they were arrested. These files and evidence are then handed over to the judicial bodies.”

Turki added: “The judicial authorities made their best efforts to complete the investigations and make charges against those who, based on evidence, have proven to be involved and complete the trial procedures. In the context of these procedures, 8,000 detainees have been released ever since the start of these [investigations], including 2,502 detainees who were released during 2011. Moreover, 145 detainees are enrolled in the care and counseling program at the Mohammed bin Nayef Center in Riyadh and Jeddah."

Turki pointed out that those prisoners for whom there was a lack of evidence, or who completed their sentence, have been released. He said that when detainees serve prison sentences longer than the judicial ruling issued against them, they get compensation.

Al-Hayat mentioned the names of detainees circulated on social networking sites. These are: Walid al-Sinani, Khalid Rashid, Abdul Malik al-Mokbel, Khaled al-Khater, Faisal Al-Otaibi, Khaled al-Tuwaijri, Abdullah al-Saawi and Sami Aljtaili.

Turki affirmed that a legitimate sentence has been issued against Sinani whereby he should remain imprisoned until he renounces his beliefs. According to the sentence, he should be convinced to give up on his beliefs through proof and evidence, in the hope of getting him to repent and return to the right path. He was convicted of possessing weapons without a license.

Turki added that a 15-year imprisonment sentence was issued against Rashid for charges of money laundering, terrorism financing, terrorist acts, equipping young people leaving to Iraq and contact with members of terrorist organizations.

He said that Mokbel is currently appearing before the Specialized Criminal Court on charges including traveling to areas witnessing conflicts in order to participate in the fighting, returning illegally to the country, using false evidence to hide from the security services, supporting terrorist acts and participating in the transfer of weapons within the kingdom to organize terrorist acts.

Turki explained that Khater is also appearing before the Specialized Criminal Court on charges including traveling to Afghanistan, engaging in training camps belonging to al-Qaeda to participate in the ongoing fighting there, joining a terrorist cell in Saudi Arabia, financing terrorism, recruiting for al-Qaeda and covering for people who are being pursued by the security agencies.

Otaibi is appearing before the Specialized Criminal Court on charges of having ties with the elements of a terrorist organization, participating in their plans to carry out the assassination of a number of officials, targeting oil installations in Saudi Arabia, covering and providing media support for wanted people, training for the installation of explosives and participating in the smuggling and harboring of a number of the General Intelligence prisoners. He is also accused of covering for these prisoners and trying to get them out of the kingdom, Turki said.

Turki pointed out that Tuwaijri is currently appearing before the Specialized Criminal Court on charges including having ties with al-Qaeda elements, inciting to fight in areas witnessing conflict, helping young people leave the kingdom, participating in operations aimed at smuggling, harboring and covering for a number of Malaz prisoners, thus leading to a number of them going to and dying in areas witnessing conflicts.

He added that “Saawi is currently appearing before the Specialized Criminal Court on charges including pursuing a Takfiri approach, having links with al-Qaeda and recruiting people to work with him to organize terrorist acts targeting residential compounds and government facilities in Riyadh and the Eastern Province."

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Found in: saudi arabia, saudi, protests, prisoners
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