Saudi Arabia cracks down on funding of militants abroad

Riyadh, April 14: A court in Saudi Arabia has sentenced 13 persons to varying jail terms for financing jehadis outside Saudi Arabia.

The criminal court in Riyadh Sunday sentenced 13 men to jail from one to ten years on charges of providing financial support to fighters outside the country using a charitable organisation as a cover, and supporting Al-Qaeda’s terrorist operations, Arab News reported Monday.

The convicts were also barred from leaving the country for a stipulated time ranging from three to seven years.

Seven other suspects were let off by the court for lack of evidence.

Other charges included giving shelter to terror suspects wanted by the Saudi security authorities, collecting donations illegally, possessing weapons and ammunition, and trying to produce weapons using laser technology for application in Iraq, the report said.

The verdicts were issued in the presence of defendants and their relatives and lawyers, an official statement said.

The court, last month, also sentenced 13 other men up to 14 years in prison for offences that included material support to wanted Islamist militants, aiding terrorism and helping young men go to Iraq, Syria and Afghanistan to fight.

The strict steps from the country’s government came after the growing role of Saudi militants in Syria was detected.

The new decree of the country’s government said moral or material support for such groups would incur prison terms of five to 30 years, while travelling overseas to fight would be punishable by sentences of three to 20 years.

IANS