2006 News Story

Prince Naif confirms thousands freed after being cleared of criminal, terror activities

Prince Naif bin Abdulaziz, the Minister of Interior, last night told reporters that Saudi authorities have released thousands of detainees who proved not to be involved in criminal or terrorist activities. 

“We have set free thousands as we keep only those people who are either convicted or sentenced by court ... and this releasing process will continue,” Prince Naif said.


Prince Naif added that Saudi security forces are in continuous pursuit of suspected terrorists and that authorities arrest at least one terror suspect a week.  He confirmed that non-Saudis were involved in the foiled terrorist attack on the Abqaiq oil facility on February 24.

Asked whether all Al-Qaeda sleeper cells in Saudi Arabia have been eradicated, Prince Naif said: “We have wiped out most of them and the remainder will be destroyed."

Prince Naif did not rule out the comments made by Mohamed Hamdi Al-Ahdal, Al-Qaeda’s number two man in Yemen, that he has received financial support and vehicles from individuals in Saudi Arabia.

On the issue of Saudi detainees in Iraq, Prince Naif confirmed that contacts are under way between Saudi and Iraqi authorities pertaining to Saudi detainees in Iraq and added that the conference of Arab Interior Ministers of Iraq's neighboring countries will be held in September.

Asked about an upcoming visit by an international human rights delegation to Saudi Arabia, Prince Naif said there are two human rights organizations in the Kingdom, a private body and governmental one and they are continuously in contact with the international organizations.