Friday, January 22, 2010

Prison riot broke out at Makka's female penal institution

Twelve prisoners involved in the riot at a women's correctional facility in the holy city of Makka have been transferred to other parts of Saudi Arabia as authorities have launched a probe into the incident.
The Directorate of Social Affairs in Makka transferred the 12 female inmates to detention centers in Tabuk and Qaisumah, Jeddah as well as Ta'if. Scores of the women's families, however, have not been informed about the transfer, the Saudi Gazette reported on Thursday.
On Friday night, a prison riot broke out at Makka's female penal institution after a large group of detainees clashed with the facility workers protesting against a humiliating refusal by social authorities to dismiss the prison director and several other employees. Four inmates and several members of the staff were injured in the unrest.
The female detainees accused the penitentiary director of beating them on their hands with wooden rulers. The women claimed that the female director met with them on January 4 and threatened them with punishment and beatings if they refused to obey her orders.
The inmates charged that they were often violently frisked after family visits. They were also not allowed to speak to any official that occasionally visited to inspect the conditions at the correctional facility.
Meanwhile, the Undersecretary of Saudi Ministry of Social Affairs Abdullah al-Yousef has pledged to take action against any person who has violated the rights of the prisoners.
“We should let the authorities have an opportunity to investigate, without any sensationalism,” he said.
Al-Yousef said that an investigation committee has been set up and given five days to complete its probe and issue a report, but more time may be required.
He asserted that a correctional facility should have “privacy and security requirements,” noting that “a correction home is not an administrative office.”

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