World Bulletin/News Desk
A Saudi Arabian court has sentenced one man to death and 30 others to prison terms of up to 30 years for their part in a series of militant attacks against government and foreign targets since 2003, state media reported.
The men were part of a group of 50 being tried as a single militant cell and accused of murder and kidnapping, as well as bombing cars, government buildings and foreign residential compounds and plotting to assassinate government officials and attack embassies.
Fourteen of them were sentenced on Monday, including the man facing the death penalty, and 13 others given jail terms of four to 30 years. The other 17 were given prison sentences of two to 25 years in a court session on Tuesday, Saudi Press Agency reported.
Saudi Arabia has detained thousands of its citizens and sentenced hundreds of them after a campaign of bombings and killings from 2003-06 which killed hundreds.
Riyadh's concerns have grown as the wars in Syria and Iraq have led to what officials describe as a surge in radicalisation among their citizens, and have led some young Saudis to travel overseas to fight.
In February. King Abdullah issued a royal decree imposing prison terms on any Saudi who travels abroad to fight, or who encourages or helps others to do so.
The same decree also demanded jail for those who offer material or moral support for militant groups, which the government later named as including al Qaeda, Islamic State, Nusra Front, the Muslim Brotherhood, Hezbollah and Yemen's Houthi movement.
Rights activists in Saudi Arabia have complained that the government has also used its security crackdown to target peaceful dissidents, something the authorities deny.
Anger at long periods of detention without trial, allegations of torture and other abuses have led to some protests over the past two years in Riyadh and Bureidah by family members of detainees.
Saudi Arabia also executed four men for possession of hashish on Monday and another man for murder on Tuesday, local media reported, taking to 18 the number of people it has put to death in two weeks.
Wael bin Saad bin Ali al-Shehri was executed in the southern Asir Province on Tuesday for shooting and killing a man in an argument, Saudi Press Agency reported, citing an Interior Ministry statement.
The four men executed for hashish possession were from Najran on the kingdom's southern border with Yemen, official media reported, naming them as Hadi bin Saleh Abdullah al-Mutlaq, Mufreh bin Jaber Zayed al-Yami, Ali bin Jaber Zayed al-Yami and Awadh bin Saleh Abdullah al-Mutlaq.
International human rights watchdog Amnesty International said those four men were two sets of brothers from the same extended family and that their confessions may have been obtained through torture.
It said the offence had taken place in 2007 and members of the family had later been warned by the government not to contact Amnesty.
Last year Saudi Arabia executed 79 people.
Güncelleme Tarihi: 19 Ağustos 2014, 23:03