ISTANBUL, November 2 (Compass)—The Saudi Arabian Ministry of Interior released 13 Filipino Christians into the custody of their employers on Sunday, October 31, more than three weeks after their arrest during private worship services in Riyadh.
Philippines Ambassador to Saudi Arabia Rafael Seguis confirmed to Compass yesterday that all 13 Christians had been released on Sunday afternoon. The Filipino men had been held for interrogation at the Ministry of Interior (MOI) Detention Center in the Nasariyah district of Riyadh since October 8.
According to a Riyadh source, the 13 were to have reported Monday morning to their work sites, where their employers had been instructed by a MOI directive to deport the arrested Christians within 10 days and pay them all benefits due.
However, on Monday three of the men employed by the Saudi Ministry of Defense and Aviation were detained again, apparently in compliance with directions from a member of the Islamic police. As of Tuesday afternoon, the three were still being detained in a jail room at the King Abdulaziz Military Academy at the defense ministry compound.
Ambassador Seguis said he had already met in person with several of the released men. "They reported to me that they were not mistreated," the ambassador told Compass by telephone from Riyadh. "They even gained some weight while they were under detention."
An expatriate Christian in Riyadh who spoke with the released men Sunday night also told Compass, "In general, they were treated very well—no physical torture or harassment."
Captured in an October 8 raid led by Saudi Arabia's strict Islamic "muttawa" police, the 13 Christians were identified by local authorities as apparent leaders of two "house churches" located in the capital's ...1
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