RIYADH - MO - Terrorists - some of whom fought and killed British soldiers in Afghanistan - caught in Saudi Arabia are to receive 'luxury rehabilitation'.

The oil rich state is hoping to steer jailed al-Qaeda militants away from religious extremism with counselling, spa treatments and exercise at a luxury rehabilitation centre in Riyadh, news agencies there are reporting.

The luxury facilities, which the country has spared no expense on providing, include Olympic-size indoor swimming pool, a sauna, a gym and a television hall. For those who have shown signs of good behaviour, two day breaks may be granted for those who wish proximity with their wives, in special 'suites' which are part of the complex.

The program will accommodate around 3,000 prisoners in 5 centres in the kingdom but it is the new facility in Riyadh, however, which is to offer prisoners a 'taste of luxury as an incentive to moderate their beliefs'.

All the centres bear the name of the current interior minister, who leads the government’s crackdown on Al-Qaeda within Saudi Arabia following deadly attacks by the group between 2003 and 2006 in which more than 150 Saudis and foreigners were killed.

During the crackdown, many militants fled south into Yemen’s lawless southern and south eastern regions where the network formed 'Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula' in January 2009 - classified by the United States as the militants’ deadliest branch.

The Riyadh luxury facility covers over area equivalent to around 10 football pitches and is designed to accommodate 228 prisoners from the 'deviant group,' the term used by Saudi authorities to refer to Al-Qaeda. Each of the 12 buildings at the flagship facility will host 19 prisoners, who will have access to special suites where they can spend time with visiting family members.

During the day, the prisoners will attend seminars on religious affairs, aimed at teaching them the errors of their ways through their misguided thoughts of jihad.

'In order to fight terrorism, we must give them an intellectual and psychological balance... through dialogue and persuasion'” said the director of the rehabilitation centres, Said al-Bishi.

He said a total of 2,336 Al-Qaeda prisoners have now been through Saudi rehabilitation schemes. But not all Al Qaeda inmates who go through the program become 'converted' to their rehabilitation.

In fact, the director of the centres admits in an interview with journalists that around 10 per cent of those who go through the program go back to their terrorist cells. Moreover, there have been some high profile individuals who went through it before leaving and returning to even greater notoriety in Al Qaeda in that region.