15 prisoners complete sentence, 45 charged with Hamas association await ‘relief or release’ amid positive steps in Saudi Arabia

The case of Hamas staff prisoners in Saudi Arabia is moving towards a breakthrough over the next few weeks after leaders of the Palestinian movement promised the case would be examined and measures would be taken.

Western diplomatic sources told Rai Al-Youm that the case of prisoners detained on charges linked to Hamas was only one of three items and demands presented to the Saudi authorities by the Hamas leadership delegation, which recently performed Umrah at the end of Ramadan.

It is likely that this Umrah had a political flavour to it and paved the way for communication between the two sides. The most important point raised may be the release of those imprisoned in Saudi Arabia because of ties with Hamas, according to the Saudi prosecution and judiciary regulations.

The number of detainees and prisoners mentioned in the talks between Hamas and the Saudi authorities, as well as Saudi discussions with the Houthis in Yemen, is about 65, five of whom hold Saudi nationality.

Most of their jobs were related to sponsoring Hamas activists, in addition to 60 people whom the authorities accuse of being loyal to Hamas and who collected donations for the movement inside the Kingdom. Most hold either a Palestinian passport or are Jordanian citizens.

The Saudi authorities have taken a measure recently, reported by Rai Al-Youm in a previous news article, involving all prisoners signing a document stating their consent to serve the rest of their prison sentences decided by the Saudi judiciary in their own countries.

It is a measure that provides relief to the prisoners, but the Saudi authorities took measures without coordination with the Palestinian Authority or even with the Jordanian government. It was also made without coordination with the leaders and institutions of the Hamas movement.

Despite this, Palestinian circles following the case are looking forward to the Saudi step being a prelude to securing the release of prisoners convicted of local charges that carry a sentence between five and 25 years, despite Saudis not making any commitments regarding the first communications session.

This step of signing new memorandums by the prisoners is apparently in preparation for releasing the detainees or waiting for release by a political decision, according to an activist in a Jordanian coordinating committee following up on the case.

About 15 detainees and prisoners who have served their sentences have already been released and some are gradually being released and sent abroad.

READ: Hamas chief makes first visit to Saudi Arabia in years

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