Last updated: 22 October, 2014

Saudi jails 14 for plans to attack US forces in Qatar

A Saudi court Wednesday condemned 14 people to jail terms of between six months and 23 years, in a second batch of sentences over a plot to attack US forces in neighbouring Qatar.

The defendants were convicted of “joining a terrorist cell that aimed to launch a terrorist attack against US forces in Qatar,” state news agency SPA said in a statement.

They also tried to “join a group in Syria that was coordinating the travel of young men to Iraq to join the fight there, for money,” and had received military training in unspecified “Al-Qaeda camps.”

The specialised terrorism court also banned the defendants from travelling after serving their jail sentences, for periods equal to their imprisonment.

It said the 14 represented the second group of 41 defendants who allegedly belonged to the same cell.

On Tuesday, the Riyadh-based court sentenced 13 people to between 18 months and 30 years. They included an Afghan, a Qatari and 11 Saudis.

The first group was also found guilty of plotting to attack US forces in Kuwait, SPA said, without giving dates.

Authorities in 2011 established specialised tribunals to try Saudis and foreigners accused of belonging to Al-Qaeda or of involvement in deadly attacks in the kingdom from 2003-2006.

The latest convictions come with Qatar and Saudi Arabia participating in US-led air strikes against Islamic State group extremists in Syria.

American warplanes have also bombed IS in Iraq, reportedly flying out of air bases including Ali al-Salem Air Base in Kuwait and Al-Udeid in Qatar, which is also home to a US air combat command centre for the region.