By Abdullah Al-Erafij
RIYADH – Saudi authorities have planned to try nearly 1,200 new detained terror suspects on charges that they participated in terrorist attacks carried out in the Kingdom over the last five years, sources said Saturday.
Interior Minister Prince Naif Bin Abdul Aziz said that the ministry is preparing the charges with the help of the Investigation and Prosecution Bureau. The new 1200 suspected militants, rounded up in anti-terror raids across the country in recent years, will be added to the 991 suspects already referred to court for terrorism charges.
The legal proceedings mark a big step in the country’s fight against terrorism as more terror suspects stand trial in the judicial circuits within the General Court in Riyadh.
Among the arrested were 520 terror suspects who were netted earlier this year in different five terror cells as they were planning to bomb the Intelligence Building in Khafji and an oil installation facility in the Eastern Province, a long-time dream of Osama Bin Laden, leader of Al-Qaeda terror network.
The detainees included 208 terror suspects who formed six cells that planned a series of assassinations targeting senior Muslim scholars in the Kingdom topped by Sheikh Abdul Aziz Bin Abdullah Aal Al-Sheikh, Grand Mufti and chairman of the Board of Senior Ulama, and Sheikh Saleh Bin Fowzan Al-Fowzan, member of the Board of Senior Ulama. The security forces also arrested another cell consisting of 18 terror suspects led by a 37-year-old Yemeni. The cell, named Al-Sawareekh (missiles), was planning to target vital installations and sensitive facilities in the Kingdom. The Yemeni cell leader was found to have trained his followers to launch missile attacks at the Farouq camp of Al-Qaeda in Afghanistan.
Authorities said that 70 percent of the 991 terror suspects, indicted last week, are Saudis while the remaining 30 percent are of different nationalities, mostly Yemenis. Some came from North Africa, especially Morocco and Algeria. All these deviants have a common target – to tamper with the Kingdom’s security and safety of the citizens and residents alike. A source at the Interior Ministry said 710 suspects have been referred to the judicial authorities since the beginning of the terrorist attacks in May 2003.
Some were convicted and others are still standing trial. Judges are looking into 400 cases, including those of the three ringleaders of the so-called Takfir (branding others as infidels) – Al-Khudair, Al-Fahd and Al-Khaldi.
A senior official at the Ministry of Justice said judges presiding over the cases will soon announce arrangements for media coverage of the trials. Okaz