Saudi Arabia Sentences 33 Islamists to Prison

Eight years after their arrest, a Riyadh court sentences 33 suspected Islamist terrorists to up to 30 years in prison.

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Saudi Arabia is continuing its crackdown on terrorism, and on Monday sentenced 33 suspected Islamist terrorists to up to 30 years in prison, Reuters reported, citing the official Saudi Press Agency .

The 33 were sentenced by a court eight years after their arrest on terrorism charges.

Seventy-one people were arrested in Riyadh’s al Nakheel district in 2006 on charges including forming a terrorist cell, possession of weapons and plotting prison escapes.

While 33 defendants were sentenced on Monday, the SPA report had no information on the status of the other 38.

The court also ruled that some of the defendants would be banned from travel after serving their sentences, reported Reuters.

In 2006, Saudi authorities crushed a three-year Al-Qaeda insurgency aimed at destabilizing the kingdom. Saudi Arabia has detained more than 11,000 people in its security prisons as a result.

In February, the Saudi king decreed jail terms of up to 20 years for belonging to "terrorist groups" and fighting abroad, in another attempt to deter Islamist Saudis from becoming jihadists.

In early March, Saudi Arabia blacklisted the Muslim Brotherhood and two Syrian jihadist groups as terrorist organizations, ordering citizens fighting abroad to return home within 15 days or face imprisonment.

Last week, the kingdom banned the sale of books by two Islamist authors known to be sympathetic to the Muslim Brotherhood.