Manama: A Saudi Arabia court has sentenced 10 Saudis suspected of plotting to attack US targets in Kuwait to a total of 80 years in prison.
The defendants, reportedly members of the Al Khafji terror cell, were also charged with planning to attack vital installations belonging to Saudi Aramco, funding terror, going to violence-hit regions, mobilising young men to carry out acts of terror, possessing weapons and going abroad to take up training on the use of weapons.
The specialist criminal court in Riyadh also ruled that the defendants be barred from leaving the country for a total period of 86 years.
The sentences ranged between two and 15 years in prison, but no verdict was issued against an 11th suspect who was not at the court trial, Saudi dailies said on Wednesday.
The ringleader, who was arrested in January 2011, was sentenced to 15 years in prison, including five for money laundering, and barred from leaving Saudi Arabia for 15 years following his release from prison.
A second accused was sentenced to 10 years in prison and to 10 years confinement to the country after he leaves jail.
The third defendant was given two years and a travel ban of five years afterwards, but the court did not issue a verdict against the fourth who did not attend the trial.
The fifth suspect is to spend eight years in prison and an eight-year travel restriction, the judges said.
The court also ruled that the sixth defendant who faced two charges would spend 10 years in prison, including three for money laundering, and would have to remain in Saudi Arabia for 13 years afterwards.
The seventh defendant was given 13 years in prison, including three for money laundering, and a 13-year travel ban starting from his release date.
The eighth suspect was sentenced to six years in prison and a six-year travel restriction while the ninth was given nine years in jail and a travel ban of nine years.
The tenth defendant was sentenced to two years and a travel ban of two years. He was also barred from taking up a leading position in the commission to promote virtue and prevent vice.
All the defendants have challenged the sentences and said that they would appeal to have the court reconsider their case.
However, five of the defendants will be released for having spent the sentence time in prison awaiting trial. Those who had exceeded the court term while under arrest will receive financial compensation.
In January, when the first session of the trial started, the judge told the defendants that they had to have lawyers and that the authorities would pay for the legal counsel.
The court ordered the confiscation of all materials related to the charges, including weapons, books, and CDs, and reportedly warned stringent penal action would be taken against any of the defendants if they did not honour a pledge not to relapse into their previous wrongdoing or to associate with people with “suspicious backgrounds”.