RIYADH, Saudi Arabia – Saudi Arabia has convicted a number of terror suspects, the government said Saturday in its first public acknowledgment of terror trials since a police crackdown following bombings last year in Riyadh.
Deputy Interior Minister Ahmed bin Abdul-Aziz (search), quoted in the Saturday edition of the daily Okaz newspaper, said the convicted people had been detained over the last year in sweeping anti-terrorism operations. He did not say how many were detained or convicted, and he did not specify the charges.
"A limited number (of suspects) have been detained for the public good (in connection to the terrorism investigation) ... and some of those have received jail sentences and other cases are still in courts," Abdul-Aziz said.
Trials have not yet been held for those arrested from Saudi Arabia's list of 26 most wanted militants, or for three radical clerics arrested last May and charged with advocating violence.
The deputy minister said an unspecified number of those on the list of 26 are now in custody. The 26 are wanted in connection with Riyadh bombings last year that killed 51 people.
Last year, Prince Turki al-Faisal (search), the ambassador to London, said about 70 to 90 detainees were scheduled to stand trial.
The bombings in Riyadh (search) in May and November killed 51 people, including the assailants.
Before November, the kingdom had announced that about 600 militants were in custody. It is not clear how many suspects are in detention now.
Interior Ministry officials were not immediately available to comment on the Okaz report.
When asked why the trials were not public, the deputy minister said: "The trials are organized by the judiciary and we don't interfere in judicial matters."