Saudi Arabia jails 5 for up to 30 years on al-Qaeda charges
Saudi authorities launched a massive crackdown on the jihadist network over the past decade
A Saudi court has jailed five people for up to 30 years on charges including a plot to blow up an oil refinery in the Red Sea port of Yanbu, state media reported on Sunday.
Some of the defendants were believed to be plotting on behalf of terrorist organization al-Qaeda and the trial is the latest in a series of prosecutions which began in July 2011 for alleged offences committed during the peak of al-Qaeda violence in the kingdom between 2003 and 2006.
The court found that some of the defendants had "plotted to blow up the Yanbu oil refinery and participated in preparing car bombs to that end," the Saudi Press Agency reported.
"Some have joined al-Qaeda 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 remaining defendants were convicted of lesser arms possession charges and received shorter jail terms, one of just five months.
The court did not pass sentence in Sunday's hearing against two other defendants who were not brought to the hearing, SPA reported, without elaborating if they were tried in absentia.