Riyadh, Asharq Al-Awsat—The Saudi Interior Ministry has issued a list formally designating the Muslim Brotherhood, the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), “Hezbollah in the Kingdom,” Yemen’s Houthi Movement, and all branches of Al-Qaeda, including the Al-Nusra Front, as terrorist organizations.
The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia on Friday adopted this list of domestic, regional or international extremist or terrorist groups under the royal decree to punish those affiliated to such groups.
A statement issued by the Saudi Interior Ministry revealed that the list was drawn up following the formation of a committee made up of representatives of the Interior Ministry, Defense Ministry, Foreign Ministry, Ministry of Islamic Affairs, Justice Ministry, Bureau of Investigation and Public Prosecution. The committee was tasked with preparing a list—which will be updated periodically—of terrorist groups and trends.
The statement confirmed that the committee was formed on the basis of a royal order issued in February that criminalized the participation in fighting outside of the Kingdom and affiliation to extremist religious groups or organizations, whether at home or abroad, as well as endorsing or supporting the ideology of such groups.
The statement confirmed that the deadline put forward in the royal decree for those who are participating in fighting abroad to return has been extended to 15 days from Friday.
The royal decree imposes punishments of not less than three and not more than 20 years in prison for those who participate or are involved in hostilities outside the Kingdom or who join radical religious and intellectual groups following the expiration of the deadline. According to the royal decree, the Bureau of Investigation and Public Prosecution will be responsible for investigating and prosecuting these cases and bringing suspects before the relevant authorities.
The Saudi royal decree provided that:
“Whoever commits any of the following acts will be sentenced to no less than three and no more than years twenty years in prison. Participating in hostilities outside of the Kingdom, in any way, as per the text of the preamble of this order. Belong to a radical religious or ideological current or group, or those classified as terrorist organizations domestically, regionally or internationally, or supporting or adopting its ideology or approach in any way, or expressing sympathy with it by any means, or providing any financial or moral support for it, or promoting this verbally or in writing.”
The royal decree added; “The punishment shall be increased to no less than five years and no more than thirty years in prison for armed forces servicemen.”