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Iraq turns down Riyadh’s request to hand over Saudi prisoners

Image of Iraqi police in Baghdad, Iraq on 8 February 8 2017 [Murtadha Sudani/Anadolu Agency]
Iraqi police in Baghdad, Iraq on 8 February 8 2017 [Murtadha Sudani/Anadolu Agency]

The Iraqi government has rejected a request from Riyadh to hand over Saudi citizens imprisoned on “terror” charges, including some who have been held for years, Al-Araby Al-Jadeed reported on Friday. The Saudis – more than 400 of them, said one official – along with “hundreds” of other Arabs and Europeans, were captured during the fighting against Daesh and Al-Qaeda.

The request from the Saudi government came a week after it pledged $1.5 billion during a donors’ conference held in Kuwait City for rebuilding the war-torn country. Iraq insists that all foreign prisoners will be subject to Iraqi law and sentenced accordingly. A spokesman for the government in Baghdad, Saad Al-Hadithi, said that those prisoners expected to be acquitted of terror charges will be handed over to their respective countries.

Iraq’s Minister of Social Affairs, meanwhile, revealed that there are 500 wives of Daesh fighters along with 1,000 children being held in the country, all of them foreign citizens. Mohamed Al-Sudani said that children up to four years of age would remain with their mothers, but those between four and 14 will be moved to government orphanages and remain there until agreements are reached with the embassies of their countries on how to send them home.

Read: Deportation of Saudi Guantanamo inmate delayed indefinitely

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