Saudi Authorities Release 1,400 Ethiopian Migrants From Prison
Saudi authorities released 1,400 Ethiopians from prison, with many slated to immediately return to their native country. In recent years, Riyadh has detained thousands of Ethiopians that entered the kingdom illegally. Between 2006 and 2014, some 350,000 Ethiopians in total migrated to the Middle East, along with huge numbers from other African nations such as Sudan and Eritrea. Recently, Saudi Arabia has attempted to improve the manner in which foreigners are treated, as many migrant workers throughout the region experience near-slave-labor conditions and are generally not given equal rights. In March, the Saudi government announced that it was working on a plan to further liberalize the country by accelerating the process of granting visas to US, European and Chinese citizens, in particular. The House of Saud has been heavily criticized by the international community over its crackdown on, and imprisonment of, rights activists, especially women, as well as its involvement in the October killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.