Terror trials begin today in Riyadh


“The General Court in Riyadh has set up a 10-member bench to look into the cases of 70 terror suspects including Saudis and foreigners,” an informed source said.

The militants were involved in terrorist attacks that killed 200 people as well as 70 security officers, the source said, adding that lawyers would be allowed to defend the suspects.

The militants facing trial included two groups: Those who were directly involved in the attacks and those who helped the terrorists by providing refuge, transport and funds, an Interior Ministry official said.

Interior Minister Prince Naif announced last week plans to transfer cases of militants to Shariah courts. “God willing, they all will be transferred to the judiciary to give its verdict on them in accordance with what God has ordained to prevent sedition … We don’t punish anybody except on the basis of a court verdict,” the prince said.

Prince Naif made this announcement while receiving princes, ministers, Islamic scholars and commanders of security forces who came to greet him at his office on the occasion of Eid Al-Fitr.

“By the Grace of God, we have uncovered several plots to undermine the Kingdom’s security. When time comes, we’ll provide more information to citizens about such plots,” the prince said.

Last June, the Interior Ministry announced the arrests of 701 militants for plotting to carry out terrorist attacks. Some of the detainees, according to Maj. Gen. Mansour Al-Turki, the ministry’s spokesman, were planning to stage terrorist attacks on oil fields and other vital installations.

Prince Naif praised the security forces for their efforts to foil more than 190 terrorist attacks inside the Kingdom.

He urged all Saudis including Islamic scholars, intellectuals and those connected with the media to play their respective roles in protecting the country’s security and stability. “Islamic scholars have a duty to explain the tolerant and peaceful teachings of Islam.”

The minister also urged parents to keep a watch on their children being enticed by deviant groups. “The state is capable of protecting their children from evil and guiding them to the right path,” he added.

Ibrahim Al-Eissa, a legal expert, said the suspects would be judged in the light of accusations leveled against them. “The accused will have the right to defend his case through lawyer and other legal agents.”

He said the representative of the public prosecutor should provide clear evidence to prove the suspect’s crime.

The Kingdom has orchestrated a crackdown on Al-Qaeda since 2003. It has also been building a 35,000-strong rapid reaction force to protect oil installations after a failed Al-Qaeda attack in 2006 on the world’s largest oil processing plant at Abqaiq in the Eastern Province.


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