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Saudi inmates in Iraq go on hunger strike

Last updated: Saturday, October 13, 2012 12:54 AM

Thamer Qamqoom
Okaz/Saudi Gazette

ARAR — Sources inside Iraqi prisons have told Okaz/Saudi Gazette that three Saudi prisoners at a Baghdad prison have been on a hunger strike for the last 20 days.

The Saudi prisoners started the hunger strike to protest their continued incarceration despite completing their jail terms.

The sources also mentioned a group of prisoners at Al-Nasseryia prison north of Iraq have started a hunger strike to protest maltreatment.

They said there were renewed fears about the fate of Saudi prisoner Abdullah Azam Al-Qahtani as there were rumors a Baghdad court has gone back on its decision to commute the death sentence it had initially handed down to him, despite the fact that new evidence had acquitted him of the murder he was originally accused of.

Some Saudi prisoners who contacted Okaz/Saudi Gazette said Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari made a televised statement in which he ruled out any extradition agreement between the Kingdom and Iraq, without giving any reasons.

They said they needed the Saudi National Society for Human Rights (NSHR) to help secure their release and return to the Kingdom.

Okaz/Saudi Gazette tried to contact Dr. Mefleh Al-Qahtani, NSHR president, but there was no answer.

A scheduled Iraqi Parliament vote on a controversial general pardon law on Thursday was postponed for the third time after a dispute over a particular clause.

Adel Al-Maliki, member of the parliament’s legal committee, said the differences were political.

The disputed paragraph reads: “Iraqi civilians and military personnel inside and outside the country sentenced to death and life imprisonment are to be granted a general and comprehensive pardon.”

The families of Saudi prisoners have called on the authorities to intervene and save their sons, some of them on death row in Iraq.

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