Saudi executes 4 over attacks on police, riots: govt

Riyadh (AFP) –


Saudi Arabia on Tuesday executed four men convicted of "terrorist crimes" including attacks on police and participating in riots in the Shiite district of Qatif, the kingdom said.

The interior ministry named the four as Zaher al-Basri, Yusof al-Meshikhes, Mahdi al-Sayyegh and Amjad al-Emeibid, according to a statement aired by Al-Ekhbariyah state news channel.

They were convicted of "disobeying the ruler" and attempting to "sow sedition" in the Sunni-dominated kingdom, according to the statement.

They were found guilty of charges including opening fire at police centres in Shiite villages in Qatif, in Eastern Province, and taking part in riots and hurling petrol bombs at security forces and government installations.

The executions come amid mounting attacks on police in Qatif, home to a significant part of the kingdom's Shiite minority which has traditionally complained of marginalisation.

On Saturday, two police officers were wounded in an attack on a patrol in Qatif, while a police corporal was killed in a bombing in the same area on Thursday.

Another policeman had been killed and three others wounded in a bombing in Qatif last Tuesday.

Three people, including a police officer, were also killed last month in bombings in Qatif.

The district has been rocked by unrest since 2011, when Shiite protests erupted to demand equality in the Gulf kingdom.

Authorities have blamed the unrest on "terrorists" and drug traffickers.