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SAUDI Arabia is hoping to wean jailed al-Qaida militants off religious extremism with counselling, spa treatments and plenty of exercise at a luxury rehabilitation centre in Riyadh.
In between sessions with counsellors and talks on religion, prisoners will be able to relax in the centre's facilities, which include an Olympic-size indoor swimming pool, a sauna, a gym and a television hall.
The new complex is the work of the Prince Mohammed bin Nayef Centre for Counselling and Care, a body set up seven years ago to rehabilitate extremists jailed during a Saudi crackdown on the local branch of al-Qaida.
Saudi Arabia Is justice system based on Sharia law due to Islam being the official state religion.
The death penalty can be imposed for a wide range of offences including murder, rape, false prophecy, armed robbery, repeated drug use, apostasy, adultery, witchcraft and sorcery and can be carried out by beheading with a sword, or more rarely by firing squad, and sometimes by stoning.
List of crimes
Saudi law allows the death penalty for many crimes. For example:
Adultery (Unmarried adulterers can be sentenced to 100 lashes, married ones can be sentenced to stoning.)
Apostasy (Apostates are sentenced to beheading but are usually given three days to repent and return to Islam.)
Homosexuality (If a person is sodomized by his or her own consent, then he/she might also be sentenced to death)
Theft (fourth conviction)
Waging war on God
The official, classified document shows that the authorities of Saudi Arabia have ordered the release of a group of the most dangerous criminals who have been sentenced to death in exchange for going to fight in Syria. Prior to their deployment to Syria the convicts are to be trained in unconventional warfare, terrorism, or in what is euphemistically described as Jihad.
The group of convicts includes 105 Yemeni, 21 Palestinian, 212 Saudi, 96 Sudanese, 254 Syrian, 82 Jordanian, 68 Somali, 32 Afghan, 194 Egyptian, 203 Pakistani, 23 Iraqi and 44 Kuwaiti citizens. It is unlikely that this group is the only such group that is going to be deployed from Saudi Arabia.
Some of the killed or captured Turkish convicts had ties to Al Qaeda associated organizations. One of the more prominent among these convict insurgents was the brother of the leader of the 2003 HSBC bombers. The bombing of the HSBC bank in Istanbul in 2003 killed 67 and wounded more than 700 people. The Saudi document indicates that the forced use of prisoners in Saudi Arabia and Turkey is part of a GCC-NATO strategy rather than isolated incidents.