Counterterrorism law comes into effect in Saudi Arabia

A policeman carries out an inspection after a car exploded near the Shi'ite al-Anoud mosque in Saudi Arabia's Dammam May 29, 2015. (REUTERS)
Updated 29 January 2019
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Counterterrorism law comes into effect in Saudi Arabia

  • The Kingdom, a founding member of the Global Counterterrorism Forum, provided €100 million ($117 million) to fight terrorism in the Sahel countries in Africa

JEDDAH: Legislation to combat terrorism and its funding has come into effect in the Kingdom, and has been published by the Saudi Press Agency (SPA).
Dimah Al-Sharif, a legal consultant and member of the International Association of Lawyers, said the 26-article piece of legislation will help to protect the Kingdom from terror attacks.
The legislation “has succeeded in covering most of the aspects that fuel terrorism, from spreading ideas to…the funding of terrorist organizations,” she said.
It also tackles the use by terrorists of charities and non-profit institutions as facades to fund their activities, she said.
The legislation “gives prosecutors the right to request records or documents from a suspicious institution,” and “obligates institutions to implement the counterterrorism law in a full and accurate manner,” she added.
A report published last year by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), an intergovernmental organization, commended the Kingdom for making drastic changes to the way it combats money laundering, terrorism funding and arms proliferation.
Saudi Arabia had proven its understanding of the risks it faces by its measures to address them, the report said. It added that the Kingdom has a strong legal framework to implement targeted financial sanctions imposed by the UN on terrorists.
In 2017, Saudi Arabia introduced the Anti-Money Laundering Law, under which the penalty for money laundering is between three and 15 years’ imprisonment, or a fine of up to SR7 million ($1.87 million).
A money-laundering crime, according to the law, includes any transaction involving property or proceeds with the knowledge that they are the result of criminal activity or originate from an illegitimate source in order to disguise, protect or help that source or any other person involved in the crime through which the property or proceeds were obtained.
Meanwhile, in a recent annual report, the US State Department praised Saudi Arabia for its efforts to combat terrorism, describing the Kingdom as an active and key member of the global coalition to defeat Daesh.
The report highlighted the strategic cooperation between Saudi Arabia and the US in a number of new initiatives to counter terrorist messages and disrupt the financing of terrorism.
It said Saudi Arabia has put in place systems to implement UN Security Council sanctions on groups and individuals linked to terrorist organizations such as Daesh and Al-Qaeda.
The report added that the Kingdom has expanded existing counterterrorism programs and projects to rehabilitate those who have left extremist groups, and has adopted laws to combat the financing of terrorist groups.
The report referred to terrorist plans that were thwarted in the Kingdom, and noted the efforts being made in legislation, law enforcement and border security.
“Saudi Arabia has maintained strict control over the banking sector and tightened sanctions on the financing of terrorism,” it said.
The Kingdom, a founding member of the Global Counterterrorism Forum, provided €100 million ($117 million) to fight terrorism in the Sahel countries in Africa, the report added.


Hollywood star Cuba Gooding Jr. shares career at Saudi Film Festival

Updated 26 March 2019
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Hollywood star Cuba Gooding Jr. shares career at Saudi Film Festival

  • He said he hopes to support Saudi filmmakers through his recently launched production company
  • The festival, at Ithra, is part of the Sharqiah Season in the Eastern Province

DHAHRAN: Oscar-winning actor Cuba Gooding Jr. talked about his experiences in Hollywood, and the challenges he has faced during his career, when he appeared on Monday night at the fifth Saudi Film Festival, which is part of the Sharqiah Season in the Eastern Province.
Known for his roles in movies such as “Men of Honor”, “A Few Good Men” and “American Crime Story,” among others, he has appeared in more than 85 films during a 30-year career on screen and stage. He won the Best Supporting Actor Oscar for his performance in the 1996 film “Jerry Maguire,” alongside Tom Cruise and Renee Zellweger.
Gooding Jr. arrived for the event, at the King Abdul Aziz World Center for Culture (Ithra), accompanied by Claudine De Niro, the estranged wife of actor Robert De Niro’s son, Raphael. They were greeted by renowned Saudi film producer and Hollywood businessman Mohammed Al-Turki.
Gooding Jr. spoke to the audience at Ithra for almost 60 minutes about his long career and the challenges and pitfalls he had experienced on the road to success in the film industry. He also offered some advice to anyone interested in following in his footsteps.
“No one prepares you for success,” he said. “That’s why you see a lot of actors that star in movies, then disappear. Or you see athletes that make a $100 million and then they disappear, too. They weren’t ready for it.
“You have to envision yourself standing on that stage, holding an Oscar over your head, saying, ‘This is for the Middle-East’. You have to envision the script that you will write and envision being on that stage, holding that Oscar.
“People asked me after I won that Academy Award if I ever thought I would be on that stage. I always said, ‘Not in a million years.’ But that’s a lie. You have to envision yourself on that stage, winning that award, so that when you succeed it will feel normal, not like it’s something special, so that you can do it again.”
The actor also said that he intends to support filmmakers from Saudi Arabia and other countries through his recently launched production company.
Asked if he had any projects planned in the region, and Saudi Arabia in particular, he said: “I do, actually. I have a couple of things. I don’t want to give it away but let’s just say that there is a lot of great literature that I’ve read, a lot of different books, including Arabian Nights. It’s hard to talk about the things in development because you don’t want to give it away but there is definitely something in development.”