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Saudi Arabia frees hundreds of prisoners amid increase in COVID-19 cases

March 24, 2020 at 9:06 am

Saudi authorities have released hundreds of prisoners from Al-Shumaisi Prison as 119 new cases of coronavirus have been recorded, bringing the country’s total to 511.

Activists on Twitter shared a video showing what was said to be hundreds of prisoners spreading across the streets after they were released.

READ: In coronavirus lockdown, Gulf residents urge end to voice-call bans

They added that most of the released prisoners are people who violated residency regulations or who were convicted in criminal cases.

A curfew is now in place in the Kingdom. The Saudi Interior Ministry said on Monday that those who breach the curfew will be fined 10,000 Saudi Riyals (around $2,662).

Pro-democracy activists are calling for the release of political prisoners amid rising fears of a coronavirus outbreak in prisons.