Saudi, Iraq agree to prisoner exchange

AFP , Sunday 18 Mar 2012

Saudi Justice Minister Mohammed al-Issa and his Iraqi counterpart Hassan al-Shimmari sign an agreement to exchange of 250 prisoners who will to serve their sentences in their home countries

Saudi Arabia and Iraq on Sunday signed an agreement to exchange convicted prisoners other than those condemned to death, the SPA state news agency said, in the latest sign of warming bilateral ties.

The accord, signed by Saudi Justice Minister Mohammed al-Issa and his Iraqi counterpart Hassan al-Shimmari, stipulates that the two parties can agree on sending convicted citizens to serve their sentences in their home countries.

Legal sources in the kingdom, which shares long borders with Iraq, said that around 110 Saudis are jailed in Iraq, mostly in cases related to "terrorism", while at least five of them are sentenced to death.

Some 140 Iraqis, meanwhile, are in Saudi prisons, mostly in cases of drug trafficking and crossing borders illegally, including around 10 sentenced to death.

The agreement comes amid other signs of improved relations between the Gulf neighbours, with Saudi Arabia naming a non-resident ambassador to Iraq for the first time since 1990, and Baghdad sending a high-level security delegation to Riyadh.

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