Saudi, Yemeni and Pakistani jailed for joining Daesh

A militant waves the Daesh flag on a street in Mosul in this photo taken on June 23, 2014. Daesh has attracted thousands of radicals around the world, including three who were slapped jail sentences in Saudi Arabia on Sunday for joining the terrorist group. (REUTERS file photo)
Updated 17 July 2017

Saudi, Yemeni and Pakistani jailed for joining Daesh

JEDDAH: The Specialized Criminal Court in Riyadh on Sunday issued preliminary verdicts against three defendants who were found guilty of supporting and being involved in terrorist organizations.
The first defendant, a Saudi national, was found guilty of supporting Daesh and traveling to Turkey to join its ranks in Syria, as well as for meeting with a number of extremists and funding terrorism by paying transportation costs for members to travel to conflict areas. The court sentenced him to six years in prison, starting from the date of his arrest, five of which are based on Royal Decree No. 44 of 3/4/1435AH. He was also issued a travel ban for six years upon his release from prison.
The second defendant, a Yemeni, was also found guilty of supporting Daesh and carrying out some of its activities in the Kingdom, as well as for traveling to Turkey to join the organization in Syria and meeting with extremists. He was found guilty of funding terrorism by receiving a ticket to Turkey and storing it on his computer. He was also sentenced to six years in jail.
His jail sentence will be followed by his deportation from the Kingdom, the court ruled.
The third defendant, a Pakistani national, was charged with monitoring Daesh’s electronic websites, meeting with extremists, agreeing with some of them to go to Turkey to join the organization in Syria, and participating in their activities.
He was sentenced to three years in jail starting from the date of his arrest, and 80 lashes after the court also convicted him of intoxication and drug consumption.


Traditional Saudi game jumps to the digital world

First prize winners of this year’s tournament came home with cash prize of SR750,000 and a BMW. (Photo/Social media)
Updated 51 min 14 sec ago

Traditional Saudi game jumps to the digital world

  • First prize winners of this year’s tournament, Fahad Al-Shibani and Saud Al-Shibani, came home with cash prize of SR750,000 and a BMW

RIYADH: Baloot, a card game similar to bridge, has developed from a traditional game — usually played at family gatherings — to an online game for your mobile phone.
The Saudi Arabian Federation for Electronic and Intellectual Sports launched in Riyadh the third baloot tournament, which has attracted more than 18,000 participants including 40 female teams. The total prize money is SR2 million ($533,234).
The third baloot tournament showed an unprecedented number of players this year, bolstered by the participation of female players.
First prize winners of this year’s tournament, Fahad Al-Shibani and Saud Al-Shibani, came home with cash prize of SR750,000 and a BMW. Second prize winners received cash prizes of SR500,000 and third place players won SR100,000.
The electronic version is now more popular among Saudis than the original, which requires at least four players.
“The main feature that these baloot apps provide is that I can play the game anytime and anywhere, I don’t need to wait until I find three more people to complete the team,” said Saad Al-Amri, an undergrad student from Abha. “I also don’t lose control as I sometimes do when I play it with my relatives,” he added.
However, Al-Amri admits that playing baloot online made him more addicted to the game, saying that some days he spends 3 hours playing.
Baloot apps are not new and the market continues to grow. Apple’s App Store boasts over 30 Baloot apps. In Android’s Google Play store, the number of apps is even higher, ranging from platforms for playing the game, to apps that teaches the rules, to calculators that help users track their scores in the traditional version.
On top of the list of apps are two famous versions called “Kammelna” and “Baloot VIP,” with both reaching over 1 million downloads.
There are other apps that are less popular but also have strong downloads figures. “Tarbeeat Baloot” and “iBaloot” have just over half a million and 100,000 downloads respectively.
According to the website of “Kammelna,” a Saudi app, they started working on it in 2008, and currently have more than 1 million subscribers, with an updated ranking list for the best 100 players published daily.
Baloot apps can charge paid subscriptions, ranging from monthly, quarterly, semiannually or annually. Some apps sell points to customers who can replace them with special features in the game.
Subscriptions start from around SR30 per month, giving users additional features such as access to a special playing room and the ability to start private conversations with other players. Some apps have unique tournaments to encourage users to compete with each other and win points that they can use in future games.