Middle East

Saudi Arabia: Women jailed for supporting al-Qaeda

Riyadh family in traditional dress, Saudi Arabia. Men dressed in white and women in black dress
Image caption Saudi Arabia has introduced harsh penalties for citizens found guilty of supporting jihadist groups

Four women in Saudi Arabia have been sentenced to six to 10 years in prison for supporting al-Qaeda and preparing their sons to wage jihad.

Saudi state media said the women were also found guilty of accessing blocked internet sites and downloading "audio-video material" related to fighting,

Saudi Arabia has introduced strong penalties to try and prevent people joining jihadist groups.

Citizens who travel abroad to fight face sentences of up to 20 years.

Authorities in 2011 established special tribunals to try Saudis and foreigners accused of belonging to al-Qaeda or of involvement in deadly attacks in the kingdom from 2003-2006.

The kingdom's highest religious authority has also urged young Muslims not to be influenced by calls for jihad.

Saudi state media reported in August that the country's grand mufti, Sheikh Abdul Abdul Aziz al-Sheikh, described al-Qaeda and Islamic State jihadists as "enemy number one".

The latest convictions come as Saudi Arabia and its neighbours participate in US-led air strikes against Islamic State militants in Syria.

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