(MENAFN - Arab News) A special criminal court in Riyadh yesterday convicted five men of conspiring against the Kingdom's rulers, causing strife, undermining national unity and supporting Al-Qaeda's terrorist ideology.
The guilty men include three Saudis and two Egyptians.
Verdicts are pending against two more alleged accomplices, both Saudi.
They were sentenced to jail terms ranging between two and five years and prevented from traveling abroad for two to five years.
The five defendants said they would appeal against the verdicts, while the prosecutor said he would also push for stronger sentences.
The court verdicts were announced in the presence of Defendants Nos. 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5, their lawyers and a number of their family members in addition to representatives from the National Society for Human Rights, Justice Ministry and the media.
The judge said the first four defendants acknowledged before court they had published a number of anti-government documents on the Internet and deserve the punishment specified by the Kingdom's law for fighting information crimes.
The judge said the four do not deserve any pardon, especially Defendant No. 1, who is a professor in the Shariah department of a Saudi university. Being a Shariah professor who is supposed to set a good example to students, he should not have been involved in such crimes, the judge said.
The judge rejected the claim of the five defendants that their case did not come under the court's jurisdiction.
Defendant No. 1 was sentenced to five years in jail from the time of his detention in July last year and fined SR100,000.
The judge also pointed out Defendant No. 1 had violated the Kingdom's residency law by employing Defendant No. 5 without a residency permit. As a result he has to pay an additional fine of SR3,000 according to the Labor Law.
The court sentenced Defendant Nos. 2, 3 and 4 to two years in prison beginning from the day they were arrested and fined SR10,000 each as per the law. Defendant No. 5 was fined SR3,000 for working in the office of Defendant No. 1 without any residency permit.
The court also ordered the confiscations of the computer, mobile and camera of Defendant No. 1, who will not be allowed to travel abroad for five years after his release.
Defendant Nos. 2 and 3 will not be not allowed to travel abroad for two years after completing their jail sentence. Defendant Nos. 4 and 5 will be deported from the Kingdom after completing their jail terms and will not be allowed to come back.
The court said it would not issue verdicts against the two defendants who did not attend the session but the public prosecutor will have the right to present charges against them when they appear in the court.
The court continued a hearing of terror suspects allegedly belonging to the 50-member Al-Faraj cell, which included 47 Saudis, two Syrians and a Yemeni.
They are accused of joining Al-Qaeda, bombing the Mahya housing complex and a public security building in Riyadh, killing American expatriate workers and plotting to kill a prominent government official and several security officers.