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Sun 4 Aug 2013 11:10 AM

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Saudi Arabia releases 272 militants after counselling sessions

Interior Ministry says the hardliners and Al-Qaeda sympathisers showed ‘positive signs’ during therapy and rehabilitation

Saudi Arabia releases 272 militants after counselling sessions

Saudi Arabia says it has released 272 former militants and Al-Qaeda sympathisers after putting them through a “long-term counselling program”.

An Interior Ministry spokesman said the militants had undergone Islamic, professional, technical, psychological and sociological courses at Prince Muhammad bin Naif Counseling Center in Riyadh and Jeddah.

The rehabilitation program was designed to encourage the hardliners to adopt the moderate path of Islam. He did not specify the length of the programs.

They were released after showing “positive signs of benefiting from the counselling programs”, the spokesman said.

“We’ll invite them to attend a follow-up program for emotional rehabilitation and reintegration into society,” the spokesman said.

The release comes during the holy month of Ramadan, when it is common for Islamic states to pardon criminals or reduce their sentences.

Another 166 former militants were released in May.