All prisoners arrested in Jazan for smuggling qat, a kind of narcotic leaf, into the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia will be released under an amnesty declared by Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Naif, second deputy premier and minister of interior.
“This exceptional amnesty for qat prisoners was given on the recommendation of Jazan Gov. Prince Mohammed bin Nasser,” an official statement said on Thursday, adding that it would cover prisoners all over the region.
Yaseen Ahmed Al-Qasim, acting spokesman of the Jazan governorate, said hundreds of people having different nationalities would benefit from the amnesty. The prisoners have expressed their gratitude to the deputy crown prince.
He said the amnesty would cover all qat smuggling convicts, adding that fines up to SR100,000 against them would be waved off.
The government will also write off customs tariff up to SR500,000.
“With regard to cases that have taken place before March 1, efforts would be made to speed up trials of such detainees,” the spokesman said.
Ali bin Hassan Aqeel, director of public rights in Jazan, said Prince Mohammed, the governor has instructed authorities to implement the amnesty for prisoners including smugglers and traffickers as quickly as possible.
“The amnesty will have great social and psychological impact on the prisoners as well as their families,” Aqeel said, adding that it would encourage the prisoners to lead a new life with their families. He said special panels have already started studying files of prisoners to release them immediately.
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