Two Saudis jailed for fighting abroad

The kingdom imprisoned dozens of people last month in security trials

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The Special Criminal Court in Riyadh sentenced on Wednesday two citizens to jail terms for taking part in fighting abroad, especially in Syria.

The court sentenced a young Saudi to five years in prison and imposed a travel ban for an equal period. The second Saudi was sent to jail for a period of one-and-a-half years and faced a travel ban for three years. The convicts can appeal the verdict within 30 days.

The court found the young Saudi convict guilty of violating the Kingdom’s travel documents law and the law to combat money laundering, in addition to traveling to regions of conflict and taking part in fighting.

The charges against him also included contacting his brother, who is present in the conflict zone, and concealing his brother’s incitement to take part in fighting. He was also convicted of extending cooperation to a terrorist abroad who works as coordinator to recruit young men from the Kingdom in order to take part in fighting.

The court found no evidence to prove the prosecution charges that the young man embraced deviant ideology and supported terrorists with money and giving shelter to one of the wanted terrorists.

Security offense

The young man was arrested in February 2013.

The court found the second man guilty of disobeying the country’s ruler by traveling to Syria in 2011 and 2012 in order to take part in fighting.

On Sunday, the court jailed six people for up to six years for security offenses including traveling abroad to fight, adopting militant ideology and “breaking obedience to the ruler.”

The Kingdom imprisoned dozens of people last month in security trials. The six sentenced on Sunday were also banned from traveling for fixed periods after their release.

In February, King Abdullah decreed prison terms of three to 20 years for traveling abroad to fight and of five to 30 years for giving moral or material support to banned groups that the government has designated as extremist.

Saudi Arabia has detained over 11,000 people since a wave of attacks from 2003-06 against government and foreign targets in the Kingdom.

Officials say there are more than 2,500 Saudis now outside the country who are believed to be working with militant organizations. A big proportion of them are thought to be in Syria.