Four Filipino Christians arrested three weeks ago by Saudi religious police remain jailed and under interrogation in the capital Riyadh, a Filipino diplomat confirmed yesterday.However, the three wives and five children arrested with them for conducting Christian worship in a private home have all been released during the past week.

According to a Filipino diplomat who spoke on condition of anonymity yesterday with the Associated Press in Dubai, a total of 16 Christians were arrested in the police raid of what he termed a "Bible study session" on January 7. Previous reports from friends of the arrested Christians in Riyadh had listed only 15 names, including the five small children of two families.

The four Christians still under police investigation were identified by sources in Riyadh as Vic Mira Velez, Rupino Sulit, Eminesio Rabea, and Art Abreu. Abreu was hosting the Friday night Christian meeting in his home, attended that week by some 100 Filipinos.

One Christian expatriate in Riyadh confirmed to Compass that at least four adults among the detained Christians had been released on January 19, followed by the release of the women and children on January 23 and 24.

On January 24, an official at the Philippines Embassy in Riyadh told Compass, "Most of the detained have apparently already been released, but we are still in the process of confirming this." An embassy representative could not be reached for comment before the Saudi weekend began at noon today.

From Riyadh, expatriate Christians said it was believed that the ongoing Saudi Ministry of Interior (MOI) investigation of the four men was aimed at extricating details about the network of secret meetings for Christian worship in Riyadh and throughout the country. Friends ...

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