Saudi court sentences two men to death over unrest

DOHA – A Saudi court on Monday sentenced two people to death and jailed a third for 25 years on charges of forming a "terrorist cell" and attacking security forces in the Shiite-majority Qatif province in eastern Saudi Arabia.

The two men sentenced to death were convicted of "taking part in forming a terrorist group" and "targeting security forces and assaulting public and private property".

One of the two defendants was found guilty of inciting protests in the eastern town of Awamiya and possession of unlicensed arms, according to the official Saudi Press Agency.

The second defendant was convicted of throwing petrol bombs at police vehicles and setting alight one of them, in addition to taking part in anti-regime protests.

The Shiite-majority Awamiya town has been the scene of repeated attacks in recent months.

In late February, three Saudi policemen were injured in an armed attack in the town, days after an exchange of fire between Saudi security forces and a group of "wanted saboteurs" left two policemen and two gunmen dead.

There are 22 people from Qatif listed as "wanted" by the Saudi authorities since February 2011.

Shiites, estimated at 10 percent of the Saudi population of 20 million, have long accused Saudi authorities of marginalization and discrimination in government and military appointments.

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