(MENAFN - Arab News) Saudi families will be permitted to visit their relatives in prisons in Iraq, Afghanistan and Lebanon, said Prince Bandar bin Faisal, deputy director for international affairs at the Saudi Red Crescent.
"The jails that permitted relatives' visits include Soussa in Iraq, Bagram in Afghanistan and several prisons in Lebanon," said the prince, adding that the visits will be made during this year.
There are 11 Saudi prisoners currently at Soussa prison in the Kurdistan region of Iraq, while 17 others have been shifted to other Iraqi prisons because of their alleged involvement in terror operations, the prince said. "The Red Crescent is waiting for a reply from Iraqi jail authorities on precisely when the families can visit the jails," he said. The International Red Cross had dedicated three days to the Soussa jail visits, while the Red Crescent cut these short to 24 hours because of the security situation in that country.
Asharq Al-Awsat daily reported that there were only two Saudi detainees in Afghanistan's Bagram jail. The Saudi Red Crescent has visited all nine prisoners in Lebanese jails to inspect their conditions. Some of the prisoners had expressed their desire to meet their relatives.
There are about 60 Saudi prisoners in Iraqi jails, while the number of Iraqi prisoners in the Kingdom is recorded at 100.
The charges against Saudi prisoners are mostly illegal entry to Iraq and alleged links to terror organizations.
Abdullah Al-Anzi is a Saudi ex-prisoner who was recently released and returned to the Kingdom after serving eight years in Iraqi prisons such as Soussa, Nasiriyah, Al-Taji and Abu Ghraib. He said Saudi prisoners were ill treated especially by Iranian Revolutionary Guard. He said prisoners were exposed to physical and psychological torture, and that he himself had been tortured. He also said the jails lacked medical care.
The Iraqi ambassador to the Kingdom, Ghanem Al-Jamili, denied any ill-treatment of Saudi prisoners in his country.
A prisoner swap agreement between the two countries was delayed due to the current political instability in his country, Al-Jamili said.
He added that his embassy has been trying its best to gather the latest information about Saudi prisoners and pass it on to officials and prisoners' relatives.