(MENAFN - Arab News) Saudi Arabia and Iraq yesterday signed a landmark agreement for the exchange of their citizens in jail in each other's countries. Justice Minister Muhammad Al-Eissa and Iraqi counterpart Hassan Al-Shammari signed the deal at the Justice Ministry headquarters in Riyadh.
"The agreement, which reflects strong relations between the two countries, will have a lot of benefits," an official statement said. Under the accord, Saudi prisoners in Iraq will be returned to the Kingdom and vice versa on an agreed date.
The country that sentenced a prisoner will meet all expenses for the transfer. The remaining term of the jail sentence will be completed in the country where the prisoner is from without any change in period or nature.
The sentence will be implemented in accordance with the law of the recipient country, which will be responsible for all decisions related to the execution of the sentence. A prisoner will benefit from any amnesty declared by the country that issued the sentence.
"However, prisoners will not benefit from amnesties declared by the recipient country unless approved by the country that issued the sentence," the statement said.
Saudi Arabia will inform Iraq about jail sentences issued against Iraqi citizens in the Kingdom and vice versa.
The accord will be effective 30 days after the exchange of diplomatic documents endorsing the bilateral security agreement.
This type of international exchange of sentenced prisoners not only facilitates the fair treatment and social rehabilitation of prisoners, but is also a tool of international cooperation, UNODC said. UNODC plays an active role in facilitating such exchanges.
As the receiving states assume responsibility for their nationals, the sending state can allocate more resources into strengthening its own prison system to better accommodate and rehabilitate its own prisoners, UNODC said while explaining the system's benefits.