‘Iran spy ring’ to appear in Saudi court

The spies include 30 Saudis, an Iranian and an Afghan citizen

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The ring of 32 people accused of spying for Iran in Saudi Arabia will appear before the Criminal Court in Riyadh again on Monday to listen to the confessions they have made during investigations and submit their written or verbal replies to the charges against them.

The spies include 30 Saudis, an Iranian and an Afghan citizen. Saudi’s Makkah Arabic daily said on Sunday that the spies will appear before the court in groups of two each time.

The court recessed its first session on Feb. 23 after giving each of the defendants a paper containing the charges against him.

The judge in the case asked them to prepare their replies to the second round of the sessions beginning on Monday. He also asked them to assign lawyers or ask the court to do this for them.

According to court sources, the attorney general asked for capital punishment for 25 of them.

They said the punishment would be applied against them if their conspiracy against the country was proved beyond doubt.

They were accused of high treason, liaising with Iranian intelligence elements, meeting with some of them in Iran and Lebanon, meeting with Iran’s supreme leader Ali Khamenei and passing over to Iran classified military and civil data about Saudi Arabia.

The spies were also accused of maintaining contacts with a number of Iranian officials and diplomats at the embassy in Riyadh, the consulate in Jeddah and the Iranian mission to the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC).

The court sources revealed that a Saudi defendant is a nuclear physicist, another an owner of a local Hajj company, a third a soldier at the Hajj military forces, the fourth an educationist with long years of experience while others are bankers, government officials and businessmen.

They were surprised that the attorney general did not call for capital punishment for the Iranian who speaks fluent Arabic and refused to appoint a lawyer saying he would defend himself. The spies were arrested in March-May 2013.

This article was first published by the Saudi Gazette on March 14, 2016.

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