Saudi Arabia released yesterday 166 former Al-Qaeda members and repentant militants after they underwent a long-term state-sponsored counseling program (Munasaha) aimed at reintegrating them into society, said Gen. Mansour Al-Turki, spokesman of the Ministry of Interior.
The rehabilitation program  and release are designed to encourage the individuals to adopt the moderate path of Islam. A total of 104 former militants were released in Riyadh, Al-Turki said.
“A group of 62 members of the deviant group were released in Jeddah after they completed the counseling program at the Prince Mohammed Bin Naif Center for Counseling and Care,” said Al-Turki.
The ministry did not provide details of their past affiliations with the terrorist groups.
Al-Turki, contacted by Arab News, said there were no women in the groups that were released.
The released prisoners would participate in a follow-up program for emotional rehabilitation and reintegration into society, a statement said. It said the prisoners represent the 31st group of the beneficiaries of the counseling program run by the Prince Mohammed Bin Naif Center.
The beneficiaries in Jeddah represent the fifth group. All released members will be monitored by government agencies and members of the counseling committees of the center. They all will help ex-militants reintegrate into society, get their original jobs or secure new jobs and have business opportunities.
The Prince Mohammed Bin Naif Centers have several reform programs presented by academics in Shariah, sociology, psychology, history and sports.