Saudi news network Al Arabiya reported Tuesday that the Saudi State Security Court in Riyadh had issued preliminary sentences for a total of eight Saudi nationals.
One of the individuals has been sentenced to death for allegedly “betraying his country and offering intelligence to Iran,” according to the AFP, citing Arabic television news channel Al Ekhbariya. The other seven defendants received a combined jail term of 58 years behind bars for having “associated and cooperated with people working in the embassy of Iran.”
The charges related to the leaking of confidential information pertaining to Saudi national security and intelligence on two foreign embassies in the country. It’s unclear which embassies were at the center of the leaks, but Al Arabiya noted that the details included information such as the offices’ security presences, exits and entrances.
Last week, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo visited Saudi Arabia and met with King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud and Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman to discuss Washington’s desire to fight the alleged “ongoing threats posed by the Iranian regime.”
Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman Al Saud and I discussed the ongoing threat posed by the Iranian regime. We also discussed the situations in Syria, Iraq, Lebanon and the need for a united GCC. We stand together with Saudi Arabia in addressing these regional security challenges. pic.twitter.com/iTwQlW5Geh— Secretary Pompeo (@SecPompeo) February 21, 2020
The State Department noted in a news release that Pompeo “assured the Crown Prince that the United States stands with Saudi Arabia in the face of these threats, as reflected in our greater military presence in Saudi Arabia.”
According to the Middle East Monitor, all eight individuals are allowed to appeal their sentences within the 30 days following the official decision.