DUBAI — A Saudi court has sentenced 15 al-Qaida operatives in the kingdom to serve sentences of between two years and 15 years in jail.
The defendants were convicted of terrorism charges, according to UAE state news agency Wam. Seven other defendants in the case are yet to be sentenced, the news agency added.
One of the charges the defendants were convicted of was harboring “one of al-Qaida’s most dangerous members.”
The defendants also were charged with traveling to various countries to participate in battle, conspiring against the security apparatus and distributing anti-government flyers.
Other charges included weapons and communications training, evasion tactics, financing al-Qaida militants and the possession of weapons and ammunition.
The defendants were convicted only three days after five people were sentenced to serve up to 30 years for their part in a bomb plot against a refinery in the Red Sea port city of Yanbu, west of the kingdom.
The five convicts 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, which prompted many of its militants to shift base to neighboring Yemen.
In Oct. 26, 2012, 16 al-Qaida suspects were sentenced 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 man 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.