Saudi says 5,080 convicted of terrorism crimes

Reuters News
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Posted: Apr 02, 2011 11:32 AM
Saudi says 5,080 convicted of terrorism crimes

RIYADH (Reuters) - A total of 5,080 people have been convicted of terrorism crimes in Saudi Arabia, where al Qaeda launched a campaign in 2003 to overthrow the Western-allied monarchy, state media reported on Saturday.

The reports did not give a time frame for the convictions. Saudi Arabia, with the help of foreign experts, managed to quash an al Qaeda campaign from 2003 to 2006 that targeted expatriate housing compounds, embassies and oil facilities.

Riyadh destroyed the main al Qaeda cells within Saudi Arabia, but some militants slipped into neighboring Yemen and regrouped to form a Yemen-based regional wing that seeks, among other things, the fall of the U.S.-allied Saudi royal family.

The official news agency SPA said the cases of 2,215 people had been transferred to a special terrorism court, quoting a prosecution statement.

"This statement gives clear results of the progress regarding sending the detainees to justice," Interior Ministry spokesman Mansour al-Turki told state television.

Western rights groups have reported human rights violations in the treatment of alleged militants in Saudi Arabia, a charge the conservative Muslim country has rejected.

(Reporting by Riyadh newsroom; Editing by Peter Graff)