Saudi Men On Trial For Allegedly Plotting Oil Pipeline Attack

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By Tsvetana Paraskova, Oilprice.com

Two Saudi teachers are standing trial in Saudi Arabia on charges that they have allegedly spied for arch-rival Iran in gathering information about a 5-million-bpd oil pipeline for the purposes of planning to blow it up, Reuters reported on Wednesday, quoting two Saudi newspapers.

According to the Makkah and Al Weeam newspapers, as carried by Reuters, the two men are charged with collecting information about the East-West Pipeline in Saudi Arabia, known as Petroline, which ships crude oil from the desert Kingdom’s eastern provinces to the Red Sea port of Yanbu, to be exported to North America and Europe. The Petroline can handle up to some 60 percent of Saudi Arabia’s total oil exports.

According to Makkah newspaper, the Public Prosecutor at the Specialized Criminal Court has asked the judge in the trial to issue a verdict, but the judge allowed the defendants to defend themselves in another hearing and gave them three weeks to do that. The charges by the prosecutor include spying for Iran and feeding it secret information about the Petroline to destabilize Saudi Arabia, according to the Saudi newspapers.

In February last year, Sunni-majority Saudi Arabia put on trial 32 people—almost all of whom are members of the Shia minority—accused of spying for Iran. In December, a court sentenced 15 of the defendants to death, and another 15 to prison terms of between six months and 25 years. In that case, Saudi prosecutors had charged the defendants with treason, with creating a spy ring, and with providing secret information on military zones. Amnesty International slammed that trial and verdicts, saying that “Saudi Arabia’s sentencing of 15 people to death today after a grossly unfair trial is a travesty of justice.”

“The entire legal proceedings in this case have made a mockery of justice,” Samah Hadid, Deputy Director for Campaigns at Amnesty International’s Beirut office, said back then.

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