The Saudi crown prince Mohammed bin Salman has promised that his country will free 850 Indian prisoners who are among those currently being held in the Kingdom’s prisons in response to Indian prime minister Narendra Modi during the royal’s visit to the country.
Saudi jails hold the greatest number of Indians incarcerated in any country abroad. As of January 2019, 2,224 Indians were in prison in the kingdom for crimes including murder, kidnapping, bribery, and offences related to drugs and alcohol, according to Indian Foreign Ministry figures.
The approximately 2.7 million Indians in Saudi Arabia form the largest expatriate community in the kingdom, with many working in low-paid jobs in sectors such as construction, domestic services and retailing that Saudis spurn.
On Monday, Saudi Arabia ordered the release of about 2,100 Pakistani prisoners from its jails, according to Pakistan’s information minister.
The crown prince’s Asian tour, which will include China, is regarded as part of an effort to help rebuild his reputation abroad after the killing last October of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, a critic of the Saudi leadership.