By Arab News
A special court in Riyadh resumed this week the trial of 49 suspects accused of being involved in various terror acts, including inciting sedition and encouraging youths to participate in “holy war” abroad.
A total of 22 suspects were present in the court during the hearing held on Tuesday and Wednesday. In the beginning, the public prosecutor read out the charges against each one of them and pleaded the judge to award them the maximum punishment for their crimes.
He also requested the judge to issue a verdict to confiscate money seized from some suspects who allegedly had plans to use them for various terror-related crimes, the Saudi Press Agency reported.
After this, the judge presented copy of charge sheets to each one of them and asked them either to file a written reply to counter the charges or appoint a lawyer to defend them. Some suspects pleaded with the judge to appoint a lawyer for them and they supplied a list of candidates, whose expenses would be borne by the Ministry of Justice.
The defendants who were present at the hearing included those from numbers 1 to 13, 16 to 20, and 23 to 26. Most of them are accused of involvement in more than one terror act.
Charges against six defendants included facilitating travel of some recruits to battlefields in Iraq and Somalia in coordination with some militants in those countries. Defendants Nos. 1, 2, and 3 were accused of setting up a camp in Yemen to provide training for some youths to carry out terror attacks. Charges against 13 defendants included financing terror acts. Other charges were using the Kingdom’s soil for terror acts, disobedience to rulers and challenging Islamic scholars on the issue of holy war (Jihad), and propagating Al-Qaeda’s deviant ideology.
Representatives of the Saudi Human Rights Commission and reporters attended the hearing on Tuesday although the judge denied permission for them to attend Wednesday’s hearing after granting a request from the suspects. The trial of the 49 suspects started on Jan. 23 at the special court. The defendants include 36 Saudis, in addition to four Egyptians, two Yemenis, two Chadians, two Sudanese, two Syrians and a Nigerian.