RIYADH : A Saudi court sentenced to death a protester convicted of opening fire on a police patrol during unrest in the kingdom’s east, local media reported on Tuesday.
The sentence is the heaviest handed to a protester in the trial of scores detained over their involvement in anti-regime protests in the oil-rich Eastern Province since February 2011.
The court, which specialises in terrorism cases, convicted the Saudi man of “disobedience... undermining security and causing sedition” by opening fire on a police patrol in Qatif district with the help of two accomplices, according to local media.
The defendant was also accused of “covering up for a group of rioters.” It was unclear when the attack took place or whether it had caused any police casualties.
Activists identified the convict as Rida Rabih, son of cleric Jaafar Rabih, who became known for his efforts to ease tensions that were brewing in Qatif’s flashpoint village of Awamiya.
In January, the US embassy in Riyadh warned its citizens against travelling to Awamiya after gunmen opened fire on the car of two German diplomats, who escaped unhurt. Of more than 950 people arrested in Eastern Province for involvement in the Arab Spring-inspired unrest, 217 are still being held.