Ambassador Ghanem Jumaili told Asharq Al-Awsat that the security agreement between the two countries does not include the repatriation of individuals sentenced to death. Mr. Jumaili noted that ten Iraqis and six Saudis currently in custody have been convicted of capital offences, and thus they would not be repatriated to their countries in accordance with the agreement, which will become official law once it is approved by the Iraqi parliament.
Hamad Hajri, Saudi Arabia’s deputy ambassador to Jordan is scheduled to visit Iraq within the next couple of days to discuss the situation of Saudi inmates held in Sousa, al-Taji, Camp Cropper, and Side Four prisons, in addition to Al Muthana Airport where detainees still under investigation are held. Mr. Hajri told Asharq Al-Awsat that the Saudi Embassy’s mission to Jordan will first visit the detainees in prisons in Sulaimaniya in Iraqi Kurdistan in northeast Iraq, but would not be able to visit Baghdad due to the security situation caused by the ongoing demonstrations.
Hajri indicated that Iraqi lawyers had been hired, in addition to a British lawyer, to appeal the death sentence against Saudi detainee Abdullah Azzam. The number of Saudis sentenced to death reached six last Tuesday, following a ruling by the Iraqi judiciary against another detainee.
Last week a delegation from the Iraqi ministry of interior visited Saudi Arabia in order to oversee the implementation of the logistical and technical aspects of the repatriation agreement. Riyadh plans to deport 120 Iraqi detainees, while Baghdad plans to repatriate 62 Saudi prisoners, including Jaber al-Marri, the youngest of the group who was 16 at the time of his arrest six years ago. Under the agreement, the prisoners will serve out their sentences in their home countries without being eligible for pardons.
Saudis detained in Iraq have alleged that they were subject to torture and inhumane treatment by prison guards. Baghdad denies these accusations and has invited the families of the detainees to visit them in Iraq.