Saudi minister: trial of hundreds of terrorist suspects underway
Saudi Interior Minister Prince Nayef Bin Abdel Aziz confirmed Tuesday that the trial of 991 terrorist suspects is underway, reported dpa.
The number is significantly higher than the 70 defendants reported in Saudi media Monday. Legal proceedings are believed to have started on Monday.
The minister said the defendants were responsible for more than 30 attacks in the conservative Muslim kingdom since May 2003, the Saudi News agency reported.
"The kingdom has been the target of an unprecedented terror attacks campaign that included bombings, assassinations, abduction and intimidation," Prince Nayef said.
He added that the attacks caused 74 deaths and 657 injuries among security personnel. They also killed nine civilians, while injuring 439.
Another 160 attacks were thwarted, Prince Nayef said.
The defendants have been described as "terror suspects of Al-Qaeda militants, arrested for taking part in a series of terrorist attacks."
"All the people involved are implementers, inciters and supporters," the al-Riyadh newspaper reported Monday. It added that the defendants may include men who fought in Afghanistan and Iraq as well as militants extradited to Saudi Arabia recently from other countries.
Iraq handed over eight Saudi prisoners last month.
The Arab News daily, citing interior ministry officials, also reported Monday that the defendants include some people who are thought to have helped the terrorists by providing refuge, transport and funds.