Saudi Arabia’s terrorist rehab: a model programme?

Issue 982 - 27 Nov 2014 | 5 minute read

In mid-October, Saudi Arabia’s Makkah Online news site ran a story saying that 334 people who had completed the kingdom’s terrorist rehabilitation programme had returned to terrorist groups. Quoting an “official source”, the paper said there was a recidivism rate of around 12% among participants, and around 19.2% among those who had been transferred from detention in Guantánamo Bay. In the past, the Saudis have boasted of even lower recidivism rates. In 2008, Prince Mohammed Bin Nayef Bin Abdelaziz – interior minister since 2012 and the standard-bearer for the relatively high-profile Saudi deradicalisation programme – claimed that, of 3,000 people who had taken part, only around 35 had gone back to their terrorist ways; 3% recidivism is another figure often quoted.

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