2006 News Story

Interior Ministry: Militants released after they repented

Saudi Arabia has released a large number of militants and extremists after they repented, the Arab News reported today. Deputy Interior Minister Prince Ahmed bin Abdulaziz made the announcement in remarks at a ceremony for retired Interior Ministry employees last night.

“The releases are continuing,” Prince Ahmed said, as quoted in the Arab News. “We are happy to say that the number of people released is more than those remaining in detention.”

Prince Ahmed remarked that Saudi Arabia is continuing efforts to repatriate all of the Saudi detainees currently being held in the US military prison in Guantanamo Bay, and that it hopes to do so soon.

The deputy minister also confirmed reports that Saudi Arabia is building a fence along its 348-mile border with Iraq to prevent infiltration. “Such a fence is essential to prevent the spillover of violence,” Prince Ahmed said as quoted in the Arab News. He added that there was an understanding with the Iraqi Interior Ministry on this matter.

The fence is expected to take five to six years to complete. It is part of a $12 billion package of measures, including electronic sensors, bases and physical barriers, to protect Saudi Arabia from external threats, Nawaf Obaid, head of the Saudi National Security Assessment Project, told the Arab News.

The fence is intended to prevent political extremists, drug smugglers, weapons dealers and illegal immigrants from crossing the border into Saudi Arabia from Iraq.