Their security roles were different, but their goal was one; to protect Saudi Arabia from terrorism and the establishment of security since the terrorist attack on three residential compounds in eastern Riyadh which were carried out by terrorist elements with external guidance on May the 12th 2003. These security officers from various security sectors sacrificed their lives, and their children were orphaned in order to confront extremist ideology and combat terrorism after an attempt by Al-Qaeda in Saudi Arabia to plan an attack against government, security and economic interests.
Saudi Arabia has spent years clearing its territory of Al-Qaeda elements; arresting the instigators, perpetrators and supporters. It has investigated them, put them on trial and sentenced them at the Specialized Criminal Court in Riyadh or Jeddah. Some of families of those killed still remember the encounters that their relatives had with terrorism years after they occurred, especially all those who Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper has met, and they cling to the implementation of Allah’s law.
The assassination of Brigadier Al Sawwat
Despite the fact that it has been 10 years since Brigadier Mubarak Al Sawwat, a Saudi detective officer, was assassinated in front of his house in the Al shara’eh neighborhood of Makkah, his wife Om Emad Al Sawwat still recalls the monstrous crime that rocked Saudi society in 2005.
The widow re-winded the tape of her memories to years gone by and relived the bitterness of the catastrophic incident like it was yesterday. She told Asharq Al-Awsat “I still feel pain and sorrow, it’s impossible to forget that horrible day, no matter how many years have passed”, adding that she lived with the deceased for almost 20 years, during which she gave birth to 4 boys and 4 girls, the youngest of which is a student in sixth grade.
This interview with the deceased’s widow came before the execution of the terrorists involved in this crime, and when she was asked about the possibility of forgiving the perpetrators, she strongly refused. She considers retribution as not just justice for Al Sawwat, but for the whole nation, and added that “Waiving (her right to vengeance) is out of the question, no matter how many years have passed.” Om Emad Al Sawwat confirms that her children feel the same way.
On the day that he was killed, Mubarak Al Sawwat bade goodbye to his small family and headed to work. His wife, meanwhile, heard a loud sound and couldn’t distinguish whether it was the sound of a shooting or explosion. She went to the window to see what had happened and immediately called her husband on his mobile, but he didn’t answer. She went out and saw her husband lying on the ground, covered in blood in front of his house in one of the worst recent terrorist attacks.
Earlier, security and judicial authorities in Saudi Arabia closed the assassination file of Brigadier Mubarak Al-Sawwat after nine Saudis who participated in a terrorist cell made up of 12 people (3 of them were killed) were given prison sentences and travel bans for abducting officers working at the Ministry of Interior. They documented their messages through video clips and then broadcast them via the internet in order to haggle with the government over their terms.
A judge in the Specialized Criminal Court in Riyadh has issued prison sentences and travel bans ranging between 10 and 25 years to nine Saudis who were involved in planning and coordinating the assassination of Brigadier Mubarak Sawwat with the perpetrators of the crime. Three members of the cell were killed. Two of them, Kamal Fouda and Mansour Althubity were killed 72 hours after the assassination, and the third, Mohammed Baghdadi was killed at the security checkpoint Al Mothalath in the Valley of Al Dawaser, in December 2010.
Al Mawled confronting Al Khalidiya
Rania Mohammed bin Cabo didn’t know that the dinner date with her husband, Yasser Al Mawled, would be delayed, not only for minutes or hours, but for her whole life, and that the joy of rendezvous would be stolen from her. The thief was a hater of life, religion and the homeland who planned and arranged for the destruction of every person who confronted him, defended the future of their generation and maintained the security of their homeland. Al Mawled was killed in 2003 by terrorists who were part of a cell called “apartment Al Khalidiya” in Makkah that planned to target the Ruwais prison in Jeddah, bomb it, smuggle prisoners from inside, and poison a number of gatekeepers by putting poison in their water tanks. His wife Rania said that the execution of her husband’s murderer will not heal the pain that she feels, and that she wishes to see him executed only after he is tortured for 37 years; the number of years that her husband lived.
Rania added that “20 minutes before the death of Yasser, I received a call from him, asking me what I wanted for dinner so that he could bring it with him, and I remember I asked him for pies and manakish. I did not feel at ease that day, and I felt a strange feeling. Ten minutes after his call, I tried to call him, but he did not respond, and I did not know that I will never hear his voice again. After a lot of calls, his friend responded and hesitated; he told me that Yasser was busy and hung up”.
Rania continues “After a short time, his brother Fahd asked me to stay calm and to pray for him”. Despite the horror of the catastrophe that she felt and the different feelings and lack of realisation that she had lost her husband and the father of her three sons, the vision of her husband in his coffin before his burial, reminded her of a dream she had seen of the same scene in which she now stood. She watched the scene unfold before her- her husband in his white shroud, and her grieving for him.
Yasser Al Mawled was a father and brother to Rania’s family after the death of her father. He raised her brother and helped him to complete his studies. He also arranged the marriage of her sister and attended to the needs of all the members of her family along with his small family of three children.