Languages
Page last updated at 16:04 GMT, Wednesday, 8 July 2009 17:04 UK

Saudi terror trials reach verdict

Aftermath of attack on US consulate in Jeddah, 6 December 2006
About 160 people are said to have died in attacks since May 2003

A court in Saudi Arabia has issued verdicts, prosecutors say, in what is thought to be the first terrorism trial for al-Qaeda militants in the kingdom.

Justice ministry officials say 330 had been on trial, but they did not specify how many had been found guilty. One defendant was given a death sentence.

Al-Qaeda-linked militants launched a violent campaign to destabilise the absolute monarchy in 2003.

The authorities launched an aggressive campaign to stamp it out.

"A specialised criminal court has recently issued several preliminary verdicts in cases of defendants in al-Qaeda and state security terrorism crimes," said a statement from the Bureau of Investigation and General Prosecution, carried by the official Saudi Press Agency.

The defendants can appeal.

Incriminating evidence

A spokesman quoted by AP news agency said the defendants had faced charges of belonging to "the deviant group", used to denote al-Qaeda.

They were accused of supporting and financing terrorism, going to areas of conflict to fight, and conspiracy to create chaos and disrupt security, he said.

The charges came with "incriminating evidence... and proof that every defendant has carried out the charges against him", he added.

Last October, Saudi Interior Minister Nayef bin Abdul Aziz announced that charges had been laid against 991 suspected al-Qaeda militants.

Analysts said until then the government had been reluctant to try suspected militants, fearing a backlash by domestic sympathisers.

Militants had been responsible for more than 30 attacks in the conservative Muslim kingdom since May 2003, and the authorities claimed to have foiled 160 planned attacks.

Officials figures say 90 civilians and 74 members of the security forces have been killed, while 439 civilians and 657 members of the security forces had been injured.



Print Sponsor


SEE ALSO
Hundreds face Saudi terror trials
21 Oct 08 |  Middle East
Perks of penance for Saudi jihadis
09 Jul 08 |  Middle East
Saudi jails aim to tackle terror
31 Jan 08 |  Middle East
Country profile: Saudi Arabia
26 Mar 11 |  Country profiles


FEATURES, VIEWS, ANALYSIS
Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit

BBC navigation

BBC © 2013 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.

Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific