A Saudi Arabia court sentenced a Saudi national to death and seven others to prison terms on the charges of treason and spying on two foreign embassies for Iran. The Saudi State Security Court issued preliminary sentences for eight Saudi nationals, on February 25, for spying and leaking confidential information to Iranian intelligence.
The other seven convicts were given prison sentences totalling to 58 years in jail for collaborating with people suspected of working for Iran. They were found guilty of providing crucial information on the internal and economic affairs of Saudi Arabia in exchange for financial rewards. The verdicts were delivered during an open session and the convicts can appeal against it within 30 days.
Saudi media reported that confidential information threatened national security and included intelligence on two foreign embassies. Though the embassies have not been specified, US President Donald Trump had claimed in January that Iran was planning to attack four American embassies in the Gulf region. Trump’s claim of attack on US embassies came after the drone strike which killed top Iranian commander Qassem Soleimani outside Baghdad international airport.
In November 2019, US Central Command chief had also warned about the threat in Gulf region saying Iran remains on the track to carry out large scale attack. Talking about the drone attacks on Saudi Aramco, Gen. Kenneth F. McKenzie told an American daily that as per his judgement, there is a possibility of another such attack.
Speaking at a conference hosted by the International Institute for Strategic Studies in Manama, he said that the International Maritime Security Construct (IMSC) is for maintaining freedom of navigation but Iran has been hindering that in the Strait of Hormuz.
“The United States must work with partners to neutralize Iran’s malign activities in the region…I firmly believe achieving and maintaining deterrence against Iran is a key task for us,” he added.
(With inputs from agencies)