Saudi Arabia puts 50 Al Qaeda suspects on trial


A screen shot of a video posted on the internet on October 6, 2010 shows militants from Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula. Fifty men suspected of links to Al Qaeda were put on trial in Saudi Arabia on April 7, 2012.



Fifty men suspected of links to Al Qaeda were put on trial in Saudi Arabia on Saturday on charges of attacking foreign compounds in the capital and the Eastern Province, according the Reuters.

The Saudi Press Agency said five of the suspects appeared in court in Riyadh, facing charges in connection to the bombing of the al-Muhaya compound, as well as planning attacks on the US and British embassies in Saudi Arabia.

Of the suspects, 47 were Saudis, two were Syrians and one was a Yemeni national, according to AFP.

The charges against them include "joining a terror cell in the country belonging to Al-Qaeda terrorist network, plotting ... to blow up" residential compounds and a public building and killing an American citizen, according to AFP.

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Al Jazeera noted that from 2003 to 2006, Saudi Arabia saw many Al Qaeda attacks on compounds with foreign workers and government facilities, with dozens of casualties. The attacks resulted in thousands of arrests and a media campaign launched by the Saudi government to discredit Al Qaeda's ideology.

The Saudi Interior Ministry said that nearly 5,700 people were arrested last year and 5,000 were tried. Human rights groups active in the country put the number of those in prison at more than 12,000, including political prisoners who demanded reforms, according to Reuters.

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