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DUBAI: A Saudi rights group has accused Iraqi authorities of deliberately mistreating Saudi inmates, a Saudi newspaper said yesterday, highlighting lingering tensions between the two Arab countries.
Al-Watan, a privately-owned Saudi daily, quoted an unnamed official at the National Society for Human Rights as saying that Saudi Arabian prisoners in Iraq are “treated differently from other Arab inmates for no reason other than they are Saudis”.
“Security and administrative” obstacles had been obstructing its representatives or the Red Cross from visiting some nearly 60 Saudi prisoners held in Iraq, it cited the source as saying.
Iraqi Justice Ministry spokesman denied the charges.
These allegations are incorrect and baseless. We refuse them completely,” the spokesman, Haider Al Saadi, said.
“We treat the Iraqi, Saudi and foreign prisoners according to the principles of human rights,” he said.
Thousands of Saudis travelled to Iraq to fight alongside Islamist insurgents after the 2003 US-led invasion of Iraq. Official rights group statistics show that less than 100 Saudis are held in Iraq, but the number is believed to be much higher and could reach hundreds.