REPORT December 26, 2001
SAUDI ARABIA: 14 DETAINED CHRISTIANS RELEASED IN TIME FOR CHRISTMAS
Nine Christians were released from jail on Christmas eve and five more were released on Christmas day. Joyous reunions took place in Jeddah as tearful family members eagerly greeted the 14 men as they were reunited in time to spend Christmas day with their families. International Christian Concern reported the detention of the 14 men following a series of raids and arrests that took place this past July by the Saudi Ministry of Interior (MOI) under suspicions that they had participated in Christian gatherings that included Saudi converts to Christianity. The men, all foreign nationals from the Philippines, Ethiopia, Eritrea and India, had been employed for several years in Saudi Arabia. During most of their time in detention, the majority of the men were denied access from their embassies and were not allowed visits from family members. If the Saudi government is consistent in how they have dealt with previous incidents involving the detention of Christians who practice their faith in the highly-intolerant Muslim regime, it is doubtful that the men will be allowed to return to their jobs but instead will be deported.