Participants in foreign hostilities to receive prison sentences

February 3, 2014

The Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz issued a royal order today declaring that those convicted of participating in hostilities outside of the Kingdom or joining radical religious and intellectual groups will be sentenced to between three to twenty years in prison. Furthermore, if the offender is a member of the armed forces, the punishment will be increased to five to thirty years in prison. Explaining the decision, the edict cited the Islamic Sharia, as well as the necessity of preserving the Kingdom’s religion, security, and unity.

The order specified that those funding and supporting terrorist or other extremist groups would be subject to the punishments of those belonging to the groups. It called for the formation of a committee with representatives from the Ministry of Interior, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Islamic Affairs, Endowments, Call and Guidance, Ministry of Justice, Grievances Board and Bureau of Investigation and Prosecution to set up a list, periodically updated, of prohibited groups.

The royal order will take effect thirty days after it is published in the official Gazette.