Saudi Arabia investigates sexual abuse of Iranian pilgrims

Saudi Arabia investigates sexual abuse of Iranian pilgrims
Saudi authorities to investigate Jeddah airport guards over alleged attack on male teenagers, after Iran suspended all pilgrimages to Saudi Arabia in protest.
2 min read
15 April, 2015
Hundreds demonstrated outside the Saudi embassy in Tehran on Saturday [Anadolu]

Saudi Arabia is to investigate two security guards over the alleged sexual abuse of two Iranian teenagers at King Abdulaziz airport in Jeddah, the interior ministry has said.

The teenagers, both male but whose exact ages have not been given, were allegedly assaulted after they flew into Jeddah on pilgrimage on 28 March. Iran has since suspended all pilgimages to Saudi Arabia in protest.

The suspension comes at a time of extraordinary tension between Iran and Saudi Arabia, who are supporting opposing factions in the civil wars in Yemen and Syria.

Ali Jannati, the Iranian culture minister, announced on Monday that all umrah flights to Iran had been suspended until those responsible were put on trial.

Jannati confirmed that his country was in contact with Riyadh through diplomatic channels and that Saudi authorities had "announced their intension to hold the perpetrators accountable".

Several hundred people demonstrated outside the Iranian embassy in Tehran on Saturday calling on Saudi Arabia to bring the perpetrators to justice.

In a statement published by the Saudi News Agency, a Saudi interior ministry spokesman said the Iranian embassy had been notified of the actions taken in the case.

The spokesman said that on 28 March security forces in the airport responded to a report that two Iranian teenagers had been sexually abused.

The case, along with the defendants, were referred to the investigation committee and the general prosecution for investigation.

This is an edited translation from our Arabic edition.