(Norman Einstein / Wikimedia)
DUBAI — Five people have been sentenced to serve up to 30 years in jail by a Saudi Arabian court yesterday for their part in a bomb plot against a refinery in the Red Sea port city of Yanbu, west of the kingdom.
The defendants, all linked to al-Qaida, included an unnamed number of accomplices who were convicted of arms possession. The accomplices received shorter jail terms, one of just five months, according to the state-owned Saudi Press Agency (SPA).
Two other defendants who were not brought to the hearing have yet to be sentenced, SPA reported.
The court found that the defendants had “plotted to blow up the Yanbu oil refinery and participated in preparing car bombs to that end.”
“Some have joined al-Qaida and are linked to its most dangerous leaderships,” it added.
Saudi authorities launched a massive crackdown on the jihadist network over the past decade that prompted many of its militants to shift base to neighboring Yemen.
The trial comes after an Oct. 26, 2012, conviction of 16 al-Qaida suspects for murder and attacks on the kingdom’s oil facilities.
The defendants, 15 Saudi nationals and a Yemeni, were convicted of “carrying out terror attacks, targeting oil [sites], and carrying out assassinations” and were handed sentences of between three and 25 years in jail.
The court, at the time, also accused the suspects of “establishing al-Qaida training camps” inside Saudi Arabia.
Two defendants were sentenced to 25 years in prison, one was sentenced to 15 years and two others were each jailed for 12 years.
The other 11 defendants received jail terms ranging from three to six years.
On Dec. 26, 2012, another al-Qaida plot foiled by Saudi and United Arab Emirates Security Forces was made public. According to UAE state-owned news agency WAM, security forces said they had arrested a terrorist cell accused of plotting attacks against the UAE and the kingdom.
The investigation and arrests were carried out in co-ordination with security forces in Saudi Arabia, and those arrested were Emirati and Saudi nationals.
It provided no further details of when or where the arrests took place, or how many were detained.
UAE security authorities said the two countries had been investigating the cell for some time, and discovered that its members were importing material, equipment and devices with the intent of carrying out terrorist acts. Those arrested have been referred to the Federal State Security Prosecutor for further investigation but have yet to stand public trial.