In a bid to ease tension with Saudi Arabia, the Iraqi government is considering the extradition of two Saudi security officers who hijacked a Saudi passenger plane to Baghdad in October 2000, a newspaper reported in the Saudi city of Riyadh on Saturday.
Al-Yawm daily quoted sources as saying the two officers were "living in Iraq under house arrest, suffering extreme depression."
The two men hijacked a Saudi Arabian Airlines Boeing 777 en route from Jeddah to London. Its passengers were quickly released unharmed at Baghdad's Saddam International Airport and the hijackers taken into custody and questioned by Iraqi authorities.
The daily added Baghdad had not responded to a Saudi request to extradite the hijackers, but did not say what prompted the Iraqi authorities to reconsider such a move.
Saudi Defense Minister Prince Sultan bin Abdul Aziz said in December 2000 that Riyadh had given up its demand for the extradition of the two hijackers, Faisal Naji al-Balawi and Ayesh Ali al-Fridi, who were granted political asylum in Iraq.
The Saudi interior ministry had earlier repeatedly demanded the two men be handed over to be judged in the Saudi Kingdom.
On his part, Interior Minister Prince Nayef bin Abdul Aziz had even said his country would contact Interpol over its extradition request, as Riyadh and Baghdad have not had diplomatic ties since the 1991 Gulf War. (Albawaba.com)
© 2002 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com )