Saudi Jails 13 for Plot to Attack US Forces

Saudi Jails 13 for Plot to Attack US ForcesSaudi Jails 13 for Plot to Attack US Forces

A Saudi court has sentenced 13 people, including an Afghan and a Qatari, to between 18 months and 30 years in prison for plotting an Al-Qaeda attack against US forces.

The defendants were convicted of “forming a terrorist cell” to target American forces in Qatar with hand grenades, rockets and other weapons, official media said after Tuesday’s verdicts.

They also planned to attack US forces in Kuwait, the Saudi Press Agency (SPA) reported.

The group intended to send someone to Iraq to learn how to make vehicle bombs that could target foreign soldiers, it said.

A specialized terrorism court sentenced the Qatari to 30 years in prison, while the Afghan received five years.

Eleven Saudis were jailed for between 18 months and 25 years.

The defendants were among 41 people who allegedly belonged to the cell.

Saudi authorities in 2011 established specialized tribunals to try Saudis and foreigners accused of belonging to Al-Qaeda or of involvement in deadly attacks in the kingdom from 2003-2006.

The latest convictions come with Qatar and Saudi Arabia participating alongside several other Arab states in US-led air strikes against the IS in Syria.

American warplanes have also bombed IS in Iraq, reportedly flying out of air bases including Ali al-Salem Air Base in Kuwait and al-Udeid Air Base in Qatar.    

  2 More Protesters Sentenced to Death

Also in Saudi Arabia, another court sentenced two people to death in connection with protests that began three years ago, official media said.

The latest convictions followed last week’s death sentence against Shia cleric Nimr al-Nimr, a driving force behind the demonstrations.

A special court in the capital Riyadh issued the latest verdicts “as a deterrent to others,” the AFP quoted the Saudi Press Agency as saying late Tuesday.

A third person was jailed for 12 years.

SPA did not name the accused, who were tried on charges including “participating in marches and rallies that caused riots” in the Eastern Province community of Awamiya.

They were also accused of “chanting slogans hostile to the state with the intent of breaching security and overthrowing the regime,” attacking security forces, and stealing medical supplies from a pharmacy to treat people injured during protests.

Two people had already been sentenced to death in June for “taking part in forming a terrorist group.”

Several others have received multi-year jail sentences.

Protests began in Saudi Arabia in February 2011 and they escalated after the kingdom’s intervention in neighboring Bahrain to support an uprising against the monarchy.

Tension rose further in July 2012 when security forces arrested the grey-bearded Nimr, who was shot and wounded.

After the sheikh’s conviction last week, his family accused the court of ignoring his “peaceful and non-violent approach,” saying the case had caused “social and political discontent”.