A new rehab facility in Saudi Arabia is trying to encourage jailed al-Qaeda militants to change their ways by offering them luxury accommodations. The facility will come complete with a spa, sauna, gym and an Olympic-size indoor swimming pool. Located in Riyadh, the new center was planned by the Prince Mohammed bin Nayef Center for Counseling and Care.
"Just under 3,000 (Islamist prisoners) will have to go through one of these centers before they can be released," Saudi Arabia's interior ministry spokesman General Mansur al-Turki said during a tour of the center. Prisoners at the center will attend classes on religion to help them better understand the teachings of the Quran, MSN News reported.
Time called the facility the "Betty Ford Center for Terrorists" and a reporter who visited likened it to "a college campus or country club, where the detainees play Ping-Pong and sip Pepsi. ... It could hardly be more different from Gitmo."
The Riyadh center will reportedly cover 24.7 acres and accommodate 228 prisoners. Its residents will have access to state-of-the-art exercise machines, washing machines and dining rooms. Prisoners will also have access to special suites where they will be able to spend time with their families. Also, as a bonus for good behavior, obedient prisoners will have they chance to earn a two-day break with their wives.
"In order to fight terrorism, we must give them an intellectual and psychological balance ... through dialogue and persuasion," said the director of the rehabilitation center, Said al-Bishi.
Saudi Arabia has often been targeted by al-Qaeda for allowing the U.S. to set up bases in the country.