Saudi Arabia to release 17 Ismaili prisoners for Ramadan

Saudi Arabia will this week free 17 prisoners from the Ismaili community, sources said on Monday.

Saudi Arabia to release 17 Ismaili prisoners for Ramadan

Saudi Arabia will this week free 17 prisoners from the Ismaili community, sources said on Monday.

King Abdullah has ordered the release of the predominantly young Ismailis about six months before the end of their 10-year jail sentence as part of a broader royal pardon for hundreds of inmates in the kingdom at the start of the fasting month of Ramadan, the sources said.

"The order to release the 17 Ismailis came on Sunday ... They are expected to be released this week," a source at the governorate of the southern Najran province told Reuters.

An Interior Ministry spokesman said any comment should come from the royal court. Reuters could not reach any officials at the court.

Mohammad al-Askar, a leading Ismaili activist, said the decision put an end to "one of the most sensitive issues" that had been irritating the minority group.

"One of the 17 inmates called me early this morning to say that he and the other 16 were asked by prison authorities to sign a pledge not to participate again in protests and unrest before they get released," Askar said.

The 17 male prisoners had been initially sentenced to death by public beheading in 2001 under the reign of King Fahd before the de facto ruler King Abdullah -- who was then crown prince -- commuted in 2002 the sentences to 10 years in prison.


Reuters

Last Mod: 24 Ağustos 2009, 17:26
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