Manama: A court in Saudi Arabia has sentenced the main culprit in an assault on a policeman by a gang using beach buggies to 18 years in jail.
The Saudi national was also sentenced to receive 1,800 lashes, 100 every year for leading the attack on the policeman and trying to run him over in the Red Sea city of Jeddah.
Two other defendants were handed out 16 years in jail and 1,600 lashes while five others were sentenced to five years for their participation in the assault that shocked the nation and prompted calls for punishing and deporting the culprits, Saudi daily Okaz reported on Tuesday.
The attack on the plainclothes policeman on March 9 was recorded in a video clip shot by an eyewitness from an apartment overlooking the scene.
The clip showed how one buggy ran into the policeman who fell on the ground, but got up just on time to avoid a second direct attack.
The other buggy drivers kept moving menacingly in a gang style near the police vehicle as the policeman and another unidentified man tried to defend themselves.
A woman in the apartment from where the clip was filmed could be heard contacting the police to ask them to dispatch prompt backup and support in order to rescue the policeman who was under siege.
Makkah Governor Prince Khalid Al Faysal called for intensive efforts to arrest the culprits and to refer them to justice.
Local reports said that eight of the attackers were Africans.
Saudis welcomed the news of the arrest with jubilation, saying they deserved the harshest punishment for annoying people.
“These riders have been a terrible nuisance, especially near the Corniche and next to the malls where people gather in large numbers,” Saad posted on social media. “They deserve to be punished for attacking the policeman and for annoying people. We hope there will be no mercy.”
Another user insisted that the Africans should be given lashes before they are deported.
“They have been giving us a hard time and they should not get away with their horrible acts without getting what they deserve,” Qalam Al Khanbaga said.