2003 News Story

Prince Nayef holds press briefing at human rights conference

Minister of Interior Prince Nayef bin Abdulaziz attended the opening yesterday of the two-day conference on 'Human Rights in Peace and War', and inaugurated the accompanying exhibition of documents pertaining to the protection of human rights. In his address, Prince Nayef said the Kingdom's interest in human rights is based on the principles and teachings of Islam, and pointed out that according to Islamic principles it is a violation of these rights to accuse an entire nation or religion because of the errors of an individual or a group that happens to belong to that nation or religion. Understanding others' beliefs, values and cultures, he said, is a basic condition for coexistence among countries as well as individuals.

At a press briefing, Prince Nayef commented on the proposed two human rights committees, confirming that the private committee had been approved by Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Fahd bin Abdulaziz; and that the government committee will be formed in due course.

Commenting on the pursuit of terrorists, Prince Nayef confirmed that in addition to the suspect arrested in Riyadh and another in Qasim Province, four more were arrested yesterday on their way to Arar, carrying weapons; that it had not yet been ascertained if suspects captured in Qasim and Hail were on the list of 19 published on May 7; that trials of those arrested since the May 12 bombings in Riyadh have indeed started; and that prison sentences will be reduced for those who surrender themselves. As for youngsters and teenagers arrested in connection with bombings, he gave assurances that their age will be taken into consideration. Of the women who had been detained, he said most had been released and handed over to their families, with only a few having proved to be involved in terrorism. He denied that one of these was Ghaida'a Alshareef, saying she is with her family, and there is nothing against her. Questioned about Abdulaziz Altayyar, he referred to him as "a trivial man" and said his case is with the courts. Asked if it is possible that most of the terrorist cells in the Kingdom have been eliminated, he said he hoped so, but that there was no justification for complacency.

Prince Nayef went on to deny a news report about the handing over of Saudi suspects for interrogation by U.S. personnel, saying that there was, however, extradition of several U.S. nationals, referred for involvement in acts of terrorism. On the question of torture inside Saudi prisons, he declared that this is not true, since "our religion and government do not accept torturing prisoners".