Saudi court sentences four to death for links to Iran

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A Saudi court has sentenced four people to death for alleged links to the Kingdom’s arch-rival Iran.

State media reported on Thursday that the four were guilty of conspiring to kill “prominent figures” in the predominantly Sunni Gulf nation.

“The criminal court has sentenced four terrorists to death for forming a cell for Iran,” the state-owned al-Ekhbariya TV said.

“The terrorists were trained in camps in Iran” and “planned to assassinate prominent figures,” it added.

According to government-affiliated media, the four “trainees” traveled to Iran through a tourism office and received training from Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps.

Saud Arabia has one of the world’s highest execution rates with some 600 people killed since 2014. Offenses that are punishable by death range from links to terrorism to rape, armed robbery and drug trafficking.

Tensions spiked between Saudi and Iran in 2016 following Riyadh’s execution of Shia cleric Nimr al-Nimr alongside 46 others for supporting “terrorism”.

Nimr’s death prompted protests in a number of countries, including Iran – where demonstrators broke into the Saudi embassy and started a fire, leading Riyadh to cut ties with Tehran.

Rights experts have repeatedly raised concerns about the fairness of trials in the kingdom, governed under a strict form of Islamic law, although the Saudi government claims it serves as a deterrent.

SOURCE: Al Jazeera and news agencies

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