Saudi court has tried 5,080 terror suspects


RIYADH – A total of 5,080 “terror” suspects were being tried or had already been sentenced in Saudi Arabia, which battled a wave of Al Qaeda attacks in 2003-2006, the kingdom’s prosecutor said on Saturday. A court specialised in terror crimes had issued its verdicts in the case of 1,612 people, while 603 other cases were still being examined, the Bureau of Investigation and Prosecution said in a statement carried by SPA state news agency. Prosecutors were also preparing charges against 934 suspects, while still investigating the cases of 1,931 others before referring them to the court, it said.
“The total number of terror suspects is 5,080,” said the statement. The Riyadh court, which operates secretly, was set up to try those suspected of links to Al Qaeda jihadist network. The government had arrested scores of people for alleged involvement in Al Qaeda attacks or plots inside Saudi Arabia, especially between 2003 and 2006.
In a May 2009 petition to King Abdullah, 77 reform advocates criticised the secrecy of the trials and said any judgements reached by the “ad hoc security courts” would be questionable.