(MENAFN - Arab News) Riyadh's criminal court issued Sunday its first death sentence against a terrorist cell chief who had carried out an operation in Yanbu in 2004
The cell was originally made up of 15 people, four of whom were killed in the operation
Cell members had carried out an attack on a foreign company in Yanbu, killing two Americans, two British citizens and an Australian.
A policeman was killed in the operation and 24 police members were injured, in addition to several bystanders. The court found the cell chief guilty of being part of the terrorist cell and for making hand grenades and explosive material taken from the school in which he used to work. In addition, he was found guilty of having harbored a cell member who participated in the attack in his residential flat
The court also found the remaining 10 members of the cell guilty. They have all been sentenced to varying prison terms and have been banned from leaving the Kingdom for anywhere between three to 12 years.
One defendant was sentenced to 12 years in prison, while another defendant got five years for covering up for his brother despite knowing that he was wanted by security agencies. He is also found to have transported his brother's wife, a Yemeni national who was residing illegally in the country, from Yanbu to Taif.
One defendant was sentenced to eight years in prison because he helped raise money to buy weapons, which were used in the suicide attack.
He gave the money to his brother, who bought the arms and took his family to Asir to hide them from authorities. He was also found to have bought weapons and transported them in his car.
Two defendants each received a three-year prison term, while two got seven years and another two got six
The convicts are banned from leaving the country for periods of time equal to the period of their incarceration.
Eleven of the cell members belong to the same family. Seven brothers and nephews were involved in the operation. The leader, Mustafa Al-Ansari, left more than three decades ago for Afghanistan, where he stayed for one year.
He then came back to the Kingdom and eventually left for the UK, where he met with several Saudi dissidents, notably Saad Al-Faqih and Muhammad Al-Misari. He later fled Britain, leaving behind his passport. He went to Somalia, where he got married and stayed for 6 months. He came back to the Kingdom using a forged Somali passport. He left the county many times, most notably to Yemen. He finally entered the Kingdom secretly on foot in 2003 and remained until the operation took place