Special court begins trial of 50-member terror cell

April 8, 2012

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Riyadh, April 8: A special court in Riyadh started a trial of 50 men accused of terror activities in Riyadh yesterday.


The defendants included two Syrians and a Yemeni as well as 47 Saudis.


Joining an Al-Qaeda terror cell in the Kingdom, plotting to assassinate a prominent leader in the country and some US citizens, and planning to blow up US and British embassies, the Al-Mahya Residential Complex in Riyadh and a public security building in Al-Washm were some of the charges against the defendants.


Defendants No. 1 to 5 were present at the hearing on Saturday.


The public prosecutor read out the charges against each of the five defendants. The judge supplied to each of them their respective crime sheets. The judge briefed them on their right to appoint lawyers to defend them at the expense of the government if needed. All defendants except No. 3 authorized their brothers to defend them in addition to lawyers.


Members of the Saudi Human Rights Commission and media were present at the hearing.


The judge refused to grant a defendant’s request to expel reporters from the court.


The public prosecutor also claimed defendants attempted to murder senior police officers, blow up residential complexes in western Riyadh and a residential complex in the Eastern Province. They were accused of issuing religious edicts to incite people against the government, recruitment of youths for terror activities, terror financing and going to violence-hit regions.


Other charges against them included firing at security forces, staying and traveling in the company of Al-Qaeda members, executing terror plans, arranging shelter for terrorists, forging documents to hide the identity of some terrorists, offering medical and combat support for terrorists, possession of weapons including SAM rockets, ammunition, bombs and explosives, and preparation of explosive-loaded cars for terror attacks, participation in terror training camps, smuggling weapons to assist terror attacks in Iraq and going abroad to get military training in addition to spreading sedition and undermining national security.


The most serious charge against Defendant No. 1 was that he was the leader of an Al-Qaeda cell operating in the country. He was alleged to have arranged meetings between Al-Qaeda members Faisal Al-Dukhayyil, Fahd Al-Juwair, Abdul Aziz Al-Muqrin and Defendant No. 15. Another charge against him was that he sheltered Al-Muqrin and Abdullah Al-Rashood, a man wanted by Saudi police, with some members of the Faisal Al-Dukhayyil cell.


The crime sheet also claimed he was one of the terrorists who blew up a police officer in Riyadh. He allegedly used to collect donations for terror activities and also prepared a rented house to serve as a clinic to treat injured terror activists.


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Agencies
September 27,2020

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Dubai, Sept 27: The Dubai-Sharjah intercity bus service, a major lifeline for commuters who travel between the emirates daily for work, has resumed.

Two of the routes started today, while the third will begin two weeks later.

"The first of the three routes, E303, starts from the Union Metro Station in Dubai and heads to Al Jubail Bus Station in Sharjah. The second route, E307A, starts from Abu Hail Metro Station in Dubai and heads to Al Jubail Bus Station in Sharjah as well. These two routes start operation on Sunday, September 27. The third route, E315, will start from Etisalat Metro Station in Dubai and head to Muwaileh Bus Station and will start after two weeks, Sharjah," said Adel Sharkri, Director of Planning and Business Development, Public Transport Agency, RTA.

"The three routes are vital for the integration of public transport networks between Dubai and Sharjah. These routes are transitional to riders returning to Sharjah starting their journey off three metro stations in Dubai (Union, Abu Hail and Etisalat). They will ease the mobility of commuters between the two Emirates, especially those living in Sharjah and working in Dubai," he added.

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Agencies
September 29,2020

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Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad al-Jaber al-Sabah, the Emir of Kuwait passed away on today in a hospital in the United States. He was 91.

Born in 1929, Sheikh Sabah is widely regarded as the architect of modern Kuwait’s foreign policy – having served as foreign minister for nearly 40 years between 1963 and 2003 – when he became prime minister.

He became Kuwait’s emir in January 2006 after the death of Sheikh Jaber al-Sabah.

In August 2019, Kuwait acknowledged Sheikh Sabah suffered an unspecified medical “setback” that required he be admitted to hospital.

In July 2020, he flew to the United States seeking medical attention after undergoing surgery. A US Air Force C-17 flying hospital transported Sheikh Sabah from Kuwait to Rochester, Minnesota, home of the flagship campus of the Mayo Clinic.

The emir had his appendix removed in 2002, two years after having a pacemaker fitted. In 2007, he underwent urinary tract surgery in the United States.

When the emir was absent in the past, 83-year-old Crown Prince Nawaf al-Ahmad al-Sabah, the emir’s half-brother, was appointed acting ruler as per the country’s constitutional law. Sheikh Nawaf is an elder statesman who has held high office for decades, including the defence and interior portfolios.

Sheikh Sabah had pushed for diplomacy to solve regional issues, such as the continuing boycott of Qatar by four Arab nations, and he hosted major donor conferences for war-torn nations such as Iraq and Syria.

Kuwait television earlier interrupted regular programming to cut to Quaranic verses on Tuesday, a move that often signifies the death of a senior member of the Gulf Arab state’s ruling family.

His death comes as the nation continues to fight the coronavirus pandemic, which has infected more than 103,981 people and caused 605 related deaths in the country of 4.1 million. Its health ministry said more than 95,500 people have recovered from COVID-19.

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Agencies
September 23,2020

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Saudi Arabia celebrates its National Day on Wednesday this year, with concerts and other events, while adhering to COVID-19 precautionary measures, to commemorate the Kingdom’s unification under its founder, King Abdulaziz Al Saud, 90 years ago.

Celebrations amid the coronavirus pandemic

This year, the country’s General Entertainment Authority (GEA) organized a string of concerts that will take place from September 22-26 to celebrate the national holiday, in accordance with GEA guidelines that were put in place to ensure everyone’s safety amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The guidelines emphasize the importance of wearing masks, social distancing, reducing the duration of social contact, in addition to other preventative measures.

However, authorities in the Kingdom have reduced the number of attendees expected to attend the concerts as a precautionary measure against the spread of the coronavirus, according to Rotana Music, a record label company involved in organizing the concerts.

Also happening this year, Saudi designer Omaima Kindassa is staging a fashion show in Jeddah to showcase traditional clothing from regions around the Kingdom, inspired by the traditions of the diverse tribal communities in the country.

On Wednesday, more than 60 military and civilian aircrafts will participate in a live show that will air on Saudi TV 1, GEA said in a tweet, adding that it will be the largest air show in the history of Saudi Arabia’s National Day celebrations.

Additionally, GEA has set up an online platform for free National Day-themed printables that includes logos, images, and illustrations that users could download and print at home to use for decorative purposes.

Sense of unity

Saudis feel “a sense of unity” every year on National Day, 30-year-old Sultan al-Osaimi from Riyadh told Al Arabiya English.

“I feel like people are united on National Day, you can feel it in the air. Everyone feels a sense of belonging, this is especially heightened on national holidays,” al-Osaimi said.

“Everybody gets excited, people dress up in green [the color of the Saudi flag].”

“I am proud to be from this country. May our country always stay safe,” al-Osaimi added.

Al Anoud bin Juma, a 23-year-old, echoed al-Osaimi’s remarks.

“Although many people will stay home due to COVID-19, I really feel like Saudis have a genuine feeling of belonging and unity, this year more than ever.”

Bin Juma, who lives in Riyadh but is a Qassim native, explained that this feeling of unity comes from the safety and security the Kingdom provides, even during a global pandemic. “I feel safe here [in Saudi] and I appreciate the efforts of the country during the coronavirus crisis.”

“Saudi Arabia always puts its citizens and residents first, and I am very thankful to be from this country,” Bin Juma said, adding that she loves to celebrate its National Day.

Previous National Day celebrations

In 2005, Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz made September 23 a national holiday in the Kingdom.

Since then, the country celebrated its national day in various ways. Last year, Saudi Arabia’s 89th National Day featured over 70 entertainment events across the Kingdom, including light shows, fireworks, and music performances, organized by the country’s General Entertainment Authority (GEA) for a five-day National Day Season.

In 2018, more than 900,000 fireworks lit up the sky simultaneously from over 58 sites across the Kingdom in celebration of its 88th National Day.

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