A Saudi Arabian court sentenced 23 men to jail terms of up to 22 years for their role in militant attacks, state media said on Wednesday, part of a security crackdown in which scores of people have been imprisoned over the past week.
On Tuesday state media reported that 17 men had been jailed for terms of up to 33 years. Last week, 48 men were sentenced to prison terms of up to 30 years and one was condemned to death for militant crimes.
Those jailed have been convicted of crimes including “breaking allegiance to the ruler”, espousing a militant ideology, travelling to fight in foreign conflicts, setting up cells to attack foreigners and manufacturing explosives.
Al Qaeda militants carried out a wave of attacks against foreign and government targets in Saudi Arabia from 2003 to 2006. Last month the militant group staged a cross-border raid into the kingdom from Yemen, its first on Saudi soil since 2009.
That attack, along with growing radicalism stirred by the wars in Iraq and Syria, have fueled Riyadh’s security concerns. In February King Abdullah decreed long prison terms for anybody who goes abroad to fight or joins groups deemed extremist.
Saudi Arabia has detained thousands since 2003 over security offences, jailing hundreds of them.
Human rights monitors inside the Kingdom and abroad say some peaceful dissidents with no links to militants or Islamists have also been jailed during the security campaign. Riyadh denies this.