(MENAFN - Arab News) Saudi Arabia has asked Iraq to sign a bilateral agreement to exchange prisoners, local Arabic daily Al-Eqtisadiah reported Wednesday, quoting an official source at the Iraqi Embassy in Riyadh.
Muaad Al-Obaidi, in charge of bilateral relations at the embassy, said about two months ago his country asked the Kingdom to sign the agreement, but the latter inquired if the agreement would also include Saudis sentenced to death in Iraq on charges of illegal entry to the Kingdom and participating in terrorist operations.
He said the agreement if signed would cover 113 Saudi prisoners in Iraq including six on the death row and 138 Iraqi prisoners in Saudi Arabia, of whom 11 were facing execution. "We asked the Kingdom to sign the agreement but the government replied with questions concerning the fate of the Saudis sentenced to death in Iraq and if the agreement would also cover them," he said.
Al-Obaidi expected his country to answer the Kingdom's queries next week as a prelude to signing the agreement and exchanging prisoners with their complete files.
He revealed through the Red Cross that Iraq supplied the Kingdom with the names of a number of Saudis detained in Iraq. "We are currently updating the names and within a week's time we will name all Saudis being held in Iraqi prisons," he said.
The diplomat said his country has delegated its justice minister to sign the agreement.
Meanwhile, the director of public administration at the Saudi Red Crescent, Khaled Al-Habashi, said his organization in collaboration with the International Committee of the Red Cross was able to organize live audio-visual contact between Saudi prisoners and their families in Makkah.
He said the Red Crescent established a special office to enable Saudi detainees to contact their families in the Kingdom through messaging or direct telephone calls.
"In collaboration with the Red Cross, the office will also search for Saudi citizens missing in various parts of the world," he added.