US Attorney General Eric Holder Jr. held a press conference on Sunday in the Saudi capital Riyadh, where he reportedly expressed a keen interest in the Saudi Munasaha (Counseling) counter-terrorism program aka terrorist rehab. Holder even said the program could be applied in the US. Saudi Gazette quoted him as saying, “Too many of our young people are disaffected and attracted to violent ideologies and so we want to work with our Saudi allies and examine the program and see how we might apply that in the United States. I’m more concerned about the threat from inside the US and people who turn to violent extremism.”
Holder also praised the judicial reforms in Saudi Arabia. “I’ve also been impressed by the Justice Minister’s efforts with regard to the justice system here in this great nation. We have exchanged ideas and thoughts,” he said, “and my hopes would be that some of the things we’ve tried in the United States may be useful here in Saudi Arabia and some of the ideas that the Justice Minister shared with me, I think, will be productive in the United States as well.”
The day before Holder’s press conference a Saudi court in Riyadh sentenced two prominent human rights activists to long jail terms and travel bans. Based on local media reports, there was no mention of the trial in the press conference. Holder did, however, express hope that there will be an expansion of civil liberties and civil rights in Arab Spring countries.