(MENAFN - Arab News) Saudi Arabia has released five women detainees who have been linked to extremists, but the move was not related to demands by the Al-Qaeda captors of a Saudi diplomat in Yemen, a spokesman of the Ministry of Interior said yesterday.
The women suspects are relatives of Al-Qaeda men who are currently operating terror cells in the Middle East, especially in Yemen.
Ministry spokesman Mansour Al-Turki said: "The investigation bureau and public prosecution office decided to release two of the women detainees on a court order, as they are pregnant and close to their due dates."
The other three were released on bail Saturday pending trial, said the spokesman. One more woman detainee is serving a jail sentence.
In April, the Al-Qaeda group that claimed responsibility for Abdullah Al-Khalidi's kidnapping threatened to kill him unless a ransom was paid and the women prisoners were freed. Al-Khalidi, the Saudi deputy-consul in the southern Yemeni port city of Aden, was kidnapped outside his residence on March 28, and since then has been held hostage in the mountains of Yemen.
Referring to the efforts exerted by the Kingdom to secure the release of Al-Khalidi, a Saudi official said: "We cannot consider this release as heeding the demands of the captors. There was a coincidence between the release of the women detainees on humanitarian grounds and the demands of the captors."
The Saudi government hopes the move will prompt Al-Khalidi's captors to release him on humanitarian grounds, the official said.