ARAR — The Iraqi Ministry of Justice has postponed the execution of Saudi national Abdullah Azzam Al-Qahtani and a number of other prisoners sentenced to death after they were found guilty of terror-related charges.
The executions were slated for Friday, but the Iraqi authorities called off the decision without explanation.
Informed sources within the department in charge of prison affairs at the ministry told Okaz/Saudi Gazette that 60 prisoners, including 10 from neighboring Arab countries, were supposed to be hanged Friday.
Amnesty International has reiterated its call on the Iraqi government to put a moratorium on death penalties and commute the death sentences to life in prison.
Sources from the committee of lawyers appointed by the Saudi Embassy in Amman to look into the cases of Saudi prisoners in Iraq said the death sentences were final and irrevocable.
They said the only way out for these prisoners was for the Iraqi government to pardon them or extradite them to the Kingdom after reaching a bilateral agreement.
The committee is following up on the cases of all Saudi prisoners, especially the cases of Abdullah Muhammad Hindi Al-Enezi and Batal Ameesh Al-Harbi. Both of them have already served their time but have not been released due to bureaucratic delays.
The sources said documents which prove that no other criminal cases were pending against them have not reached the prison authorities yet and this delayed their release.
Batal Ameesh Al-Harbi spent six years in Iraqi prisons and is waiting for the Iraqi authorities to release him as he has already served his time.
Al-Harbi was arrested in 2004 near the Iraqi border and put in jail. He was with a group of friends fishing when he was caught by the Iraqi security personnel.
Al-Harbi was released six years later. He then married the daughter of an Iraqi prisoner, who was his cellmate. Al-Harbi was preparing to return to the Kingdom with his wife and son when he was arrested again by the Iraqi police.
Al-Harbi was kept in different prison facilities and was produced in court with Badar Oufan Al-Shammary.
While Al-Shammary was sentenced to death, Al-Harbi was acquitted of charges against him due to lack of evidence. However, he was sent back to jail pending release procedures.
Meanwhile, the father of Mazin Muhammad Masawee, who was executed in Iraq, refused to accept condolences over the death of his son, saying: “I won’t accept condolences until my son is buried in his homeland.” After the news of his execution was confirmed, the father sent a telegram to the Ministry of Interior requesting it to bring his son’s body to the Kingdom.
Mazin’s father said his son had gone to Iraq without telling anyone in the family. Other parents whose sons have gone to Iraq sympathized with Mazin’s father and said the actions of their children caused immense sorrow and misery to their families.
Mazin’s mother also said she wanted her son to be buried in the Kingdom. She said when she received the bad news, she pulled herself together and prayed to Allah to shower His mercy on her son.