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Report: Saudis Sent 1,200 Death-Row Inmates to Syria to Join Rebels

Report: Saudis sent death-row inmates to fight Syria

Michael Winter, USA TODAY 5:53 p.m. EST January 21, 2013

Secret memo says more than 1,200 prisoners fought Assad regime to avoid beheading.

Citing what it calls a "top secret memo" in April from the Ministry of Interior, AINA says the Saudi offered 1,239 inmates a pardon and a monthly stipend for their families, which were were allowed to stay in the Sunni Arab kingdom. Syrian President Bashar Assad is an Alawite, a minority Shiite sect.

According to an English translation of the memo, besides Saudis, the prisoners included Afghans, Egyptians, Iraqis, Jordanians, Kuwaitis, Pakistanis, Palestinians, Somalis, Sudanese, Syrians and Yemenis. All faced "execution by sword" for murder, rape or drug smuggling.


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