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Saudi woman sentenced to 6 years' jail for IS group support

AFP , Thursday 12 May 2016
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A Saudi woman has been sentenced to six years in prison for "acts of sedition" including pledging allegiance to the Islamic State (IS) militant group, newspapers reported on Thursday.

A court in Riyadh issued the sentence against the unnamed 27-year-old on Wednesday, the Saudi Gazette said.

But Al-Hayat daily reported that the judge decided to keep her in jail for only three years after she expressed "regret" for her "acts of sedition" and suspended the rest of the sentence.

She will however also be banned from travelling abroad for six years, it added.

The woman was convicted of pledging allegiance to Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, leader of the IS group which has seized territory in Iraq and Syria.

IS has claimed attacks in Saudi Arabia against members of the minority Shiite community and the Saudi security forces.

She posted messages on Twitter supporting a deadly attack on security forces, and hung posters at a mosque and on utility poles to seek the release of a suspected militant, Saudi Gazette said.

She also reportedly called for disobedience against the kingdom's rulers.

Saudi Arabia is part of the US-led coalition bombing IS in Iraq and Syria.

Saudi political and religious leaders routinely denounce IS attacks -- at home and abroad -- as contrary to Islam.

Still, a report last year by the inter-governmental Financial Action Task Force said Saudis comprised the second largest nationality among "foreign terrorist fighters" with IS.

Saudi police on Monday shot dead a suspected militant in the western province of Taif a day after one of their colleagues was killed in a shootout, the interior ministry said.

On May 5, another police officer was shot dead and four suspected militants were killed during a raid in an area between Taif and the region of Mecca, home to Islam's holiest sites.

*The story was edited by Ahram Online.

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