Riyadh court sentences 15 Iran 'spies' to death

Saudi security officers are seen at a site of a terror attack in Jeddah in this July 2016 photo. (AFP file photo)
Updated 08 December 2016

Riyadh court sentences 15 Iran 'spies' to death

JEDDAH: The Saudi Specialized Criminal Court on Tuesday sentenced to death 15 people convicted of spying for Iran.
 
The defendants were found to be members of an Iranian spy cell consisting of 32 terrorists —  30 Saudis, one Iranian and one Afghan.
 
They are charged with forming a spy cell and communicating with the Iranian intelligence with the intention to harm the Kingdom’s security.
 
The 32 defendants in the case known as the “Iranian spy cell,” because of their association with the Iranian intelligence and Revolutionary Guards, are accused of having constituted the cell in collaboration with Iranian intelligence officers and providing the latter with vital, secret information, including sensitive military secrets, which could seriously affect the security, unity and safety of the Kingdom and its armed forces.
 
Some accusations are: Seeking to commit acts of sabotage against vital economic interests and facilities in the country, disturbing peace and public peace, attempting to damage the unity of the community, spreading chaos and sectarianism and carrying out acts hostile to the Kingdom.
 
Other charges include recruitment of Saudi nationals to carry out orders that serve the interests of the Iranian intelligence and to provide it with information vital to the security of Saudi Arabia in return for cash, goods and other advantages.
 
The most serious charges are high treason, committing the crime of spying and collaborating with elements of the Iranian intelligence, providing intelligence about the military and security situation of the country, including the number of aircraft and military bases.
 
The court stressed that the judicial system gives the right to each accused to be defended, give answers and make requests by leaving long periods of time between hearing and deliberation sessions, which numbered over 160.
 
The court also accepted adjourning the hearing sessions for a number of defendants, upon request, for taking their school exams, for example.
 
Each defendant had his own, separate hearing session, to ensure he can present his case in court freely, and each could appoint the lawyer of his choice.
 
In the case of those unable to hire a lawyer, the court designated one at the state’s expense, in accordance with the Criminal Procedures Law.
 
Defendants and lawyers were allowed to meet, at the detention center, to prepare for the cases.
They were also allowed to confer during the court hearings and to decide what goes in the court transcripts, and were provided with copies of the session minutes upon their request.


G20 ready to limit effects of coronavirus on global economy, Saudi finance minister

Updated 17 sec ago

G20 ready to limit effects of coronavirus on global economy, Saudi finance minister

RIYADH: The meeting of G20 finance ministers and central bank governors ended in Saudi Arabia with a determination to tackle pressing global concerns such as geopolitical and trade confrontations, as well as the challenge of the coronavirus outbreak.
The official communique — hammered out among the G20 policy-makers gathered in Riyadh over two days of discussions — said that global economic growth was expected to pick up “modestly” this year and next, on signs of improving financial conditions and some signs of easing trade tensions.
“However, global economic growth remains slow, and downside risks to the outlook persist, inching those arising from geopolitical and remaining trade tensions, and policy uncertainty. We will enhance global risk monitoring, including the recent outbreak of COVID-19 (coronavirus). We stand ready to take further action to address those risks,” the communique said.

On so-called “trade wars” between the US and China — which was not represented at the Riyadh meeting because of the outbreak — the communiqué said: “We will continue to take joint action to strengthen international co-operation and frameworks, and also reaffirm our commitments on exchange rates.”
There was general agreement by the ministers on measures on infrastructure investment, technology development, and plans to boost domestic capital markets across the world, especially in emerging and developing countries.
But a note of caution was also sounded in several areas.The G20 finance ministers said that “we are facing a global landscape that is being rapidly transformed by economic, social, environmental, technological and demographic changes.”
Apart from that mention of the environment, there was little attention given to the contentious issue of climate change. Towards the end of the communique, the ministers and governors said: “The financial stability board (of the G20) is examining the financial stability implications of climate change.”
The finance ministers’ gathering is the first formal event in preparation for the summit of world leaders that will take place in Saudi Arabia in November, with the three key aims of empowering people, safeguarding the planet and shaping new frontiers in technology and innovation.
The international taxation system was an area of focus at the finance ministers meeting, with some countries threatening a controversial digital tax. The communique said that “we continue to support tax capacity building in developing countries,” and called on all countries to sign multilateral agreements on tax matters. “We remain committed to the full, timely and consistent implementation of the agreed financial reforms,” it added.
Other big themes of the financial G20 meeting included inclusion of youth and women in the financial process. “We support the emphasis on digital financial inclusion of under-served groups, especially youth, women and small businesses,” the communique said.
There was also strong support for the work of the global Financial Action Task Force in combating money laundering and terrorism finance. “We reiterate our strong commitment to tackle all sources, techniques and channels of these threats,” the G20 ministers said, also backing measures to tackle the financing of nuclear proliferation. “We ask the FATF to remain vigilant with respect to emerging financial technologies that may allow for new methods of illicit financing,” it added.