- The Washington Times - Sunday, June 2, 2002

RIYADH, Saudi Arabia (AP) Saudi Arabia has sentenced some of the people it arrested for the 1996 Khobar Towers bombing that killed 19 U.S. servicemen and injured hundreds, the deputy interior minister was quoted as saying yesterday.
Prince Ahmed bin Abdulaziz, however, did not say how many were sentenced or what the sentences were. The verdicts "must be announced at the right time," the brother of King Fahd said in an interview with the al-Jazirah newspaper.
Last June, the United States indicted 14 persons 13 Saudis and a Lebanese for the 1996 bombing in Dhahran by members of the dissident Saudi Hezbollah group. Some of those indicted, who are charged with murder, attempted murder and conspiracy to use weapons of mass destruction, are in Saudi jails.
The United States does not have an extradition treaty with Saudi Arabia, and the kingdom said that since it wasn't consulted, it would not recognize the indictments. U.S. officials have criticized Saudi Arabia for its lack of cooperation.
In the interview, Prince Ahmed said the suspects in the bombing, except for two or three still at large, had been sentenced under Islamic law.
"The sentences will go to a higher court, then to the Supreme Justice Council and then to the king for approval," Prince Ahmed was quoted as saying. Under Islamic Shariah law, all sentences must go through several stages of ratification before they are carried out.
The kingdom, which follows a strict interpretation of Islamic law, imposes the death penalty for murder, rape, armed robbery and drug trafficking.
Efforts to reach officials for comment yesterday were unsuccessful.
The United States has had military forces in Saudi Arabia since the buildup to the 1990 Gulf war.
Saudi dissident Osama bin Laden, the prime suspect in the September 11 terror attacks, has called for the expulsion of U.S. troops from the kingdom, home to Islam's two holiest sites. Fifteen of the 19 suicide hijackers were Saudis.

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