By Thomas Murphy
Impunity Watch Reporter, Middle East
RIYADH, Saudi Arabia – A Saudi court has sentenced one man to death and nineteen others to jail in connection with the 2004 US Consulate attack in the Red Sea city of Jeddah. The nineteen others received sentences ranging from eighteen months to twenty-five years.
The lone man sentenced to death was one of the attackers that stormed the building in the December 6 attack. The others were convicted of being part of a “deviant group” (Al-Qaeda) and supporting the Jeddah attack and another attack on a petrol facility that same year.
In the Jeddah attack, five militants attacked the US consulate with bombs and guns, managing to make their way inside while taking hostages at gunpoint. The whole ordeal last three hours and resulted in the death of five locally hired consulate workers. Three of the five attackers were killed by Saudi security forces in the raid and two were captured, but one later died of his injuries.
The attack was one in a series that year, perpetrated by Al-Qaeda in an effort to oust the ruling Al-Saud family. They were aimed at Western targets and left dozens of foreigners and Saudi citizens dead. The Al-Saud family, who previously had not thought much of Al-Qaeda, changed their attitude as the attacks mounted. The campaign to overthrow the Al-Saud family was crushed in 2006 and resulted in the detainment of more than 11,000 people.
The detainment and retaliation against Al-Qaeda resulted in controversy as many of the detained and their family claimed unfair treatment the hands of the regime. Some of the claims in include indefinite detention without charges and torture.
The Saudi Press Agency has reported that after the execution the body of the attacker will be put on public display to demonstrate the folly of such actions. This is the ultimate form of punishment in the Saudi kingdom.
Thirty-five more men will face hearing later this week and are also charged with being part of the same “deviant group.” All those convicted are given thirty days to appeal.
For further information, please see:
Al Jazeera – Saudi court sentences man to death – 26 November 2013
BBC – Saudi Arabia sentences US consulate attacked to death – 25 November 2013
Fox News – Saudi Arabia order execution over 2004 attack on US consulate – 25 November 2013
Reuters – Jeddah US consulate attacker sentenced to death, others jailed – 25 November 2013