18 ‘Unruly’ Youths Freed After A Month In Detention

RIYADH, 18 September 2007 — Eighteen of 31 Pakistani youths arrested a month ago on charges of assaulting and pelting policemen with stones in Jeddah have been released following a court order. Two Indian students who were detained on similar charges are still in custody.

The court reportedly gave the students one-month jail sentences before releasing them.

“The students were released because they already completed more than a month in prison since the day they were picked up by the local police,” Chaudhury Shaukat Ali, consul welfare at the Pakistani Consulate General, said yesterday.

“None of them are being deported despite the rumors circulating,” said a parent.

“Only two of the four Indian students are still under police custody and they are waiting for the official release order to reach to the relevant authorities,” said a community leader, on the condition of anonymity.

The two students are likely to be set free within a few days from now, he added.

Police detained the students on Aug. 14 and 15 during national day celebrations that allegedly became unruly and caused traffic problems. Pakistan and India mark their national days one day apart.

The students were later charged with assaulting police officers who tried to quell the exuberant celebrations.

Students who were minors were quickly released to their parents. But a group of 18 Pakistani and two Indian students were not released at that time. The police said the detained students were potential troublemakers.

About 120,000 Pakistani and Indian students are currently on the rolls of different schools in the Kingdom.

More than a million Pakistanis live and work in Saudi Arabia, while the Kingdom is home to over 1.6 million Indians.

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