Riyadh: A Saudi court jailed seven people convicted of supporting Al Qaida to between two and eight years in prison, state news agency SPA reported.

Another defendant was jailed for four months after he was convicted of “attempting suicide several times” in prison, as suicide is forbidden in Islam, and a ninth was acquitted, it said late Sunday.

The lower special court did not announce its verdict on three remaining defendants of the group of 12 — all Saudis except for one Yemeni — as they did not attend the hearing, said SPA.

The men were tried on charges including supporting Al Qaida ideology as well as “sabotage attacks” that took place inside and outside the kingdom and defending those who carried them out, said SPA.

They were also accused of holding “documents teaching the making of explosives and chemical materials”.

Some of them knew of a “plot targeting an oil refinery and did not inform authorities about those who were plotting to attack it”, the agency said.

Some of them had travelled to fight abroad while some “owned arms and weapons in an attempt to undermine security”.

Saudi courts started in July 2011 to try hundreds of suspects for a wave of Al Qaida attacks from 2003 until 2006, when authorities launched a massive campaign of arrests targeting the jihadist network.

Around 3,000 suspects are being tried or due to go on trial, according to Saudi authorities.