The Rest House Cell: Secret Organization
A secret organization better known as “The Rest House Cell” composes of 16 persons, including 14 Saudi, Syrian and Yemeni nationals, who were arrested in February 2007 at Sara Rest House in Jeddah. This organization doubted the judicial independence and sought to establish an organization both inside and outside the country under the name of “The Generation Project” to raise funds allegedly for charity work and do prohibited activities including smuggling money and passing it on to a suspected entity.
During the trial, the first defendant in the organization admitted that he introduced the idea of building up the so-called “Muslim Army” from individuals of the armed groups in both Iraq and Syria, but he said that this was just “an idea” and “it was not stupid of him to declare his plans and objectives.”
The trial proceedings revealed the first man’s relationship with Arab, Islamic partisan figures.
This case is based on the results of monitoring two groups:
The first by its members carried out prohibited activities including raising funds in an illegal way, smuggling and conveying funds to a suspected entity which uses them to seduce the natives and attract them to places of unrest and issuing Fatwas making it binding on the youth to go to the these places and take part in the fighting.
The members of the other group work on destabilizing and provoking hostility against the state. It was observed that those two groups would frequently meet in meetings shrouded in “secrecy” and secure.
The competent criminal court decided on 22 November 2011 to pass sentences totaling 228 years in prison ranging between 5 and 30 years, and also decided to prevent the secret organization group from traveling, while the head of the group was given the maximum term sentence of 30 years. He was also prevented from traveling for the same period.
The convictions were mainly based on the charge of the establishment of a secret organization aiming at causing chaos and coming to power seeking the help of outside parties, and exploiting the terrorist accidents which Saudi Arabia witnessed recently, in addition to cooperation with foreign intelligence services, direct intervention in the affairs of foreign countries and seeking to create an alliance for the factions fighting in Iraq beside doubting the judicial independence.
The Details of Charges and Sentences
The first defendant (the mastermind) is an academic who established an anti-state organization called “Tawassu” (Expansion) which aimed at coming to power, acceding to Al-Qaeda Organization through his contacts with one leader, subsequently killed, of the organization, namely Abdel Aziz Al-Muqrin allegedly for advice, knowing that foreign terrorist individuals entering the Kingdom, and smuggling chemical weapons and substances for wreaking havoc and undermining security, making use of the pilgrimage season to achieve their objectives.
He was sentenced to 30 years in prison as of the date of his arrest, a two million riyal fine, and a ban from traveling after his release for 30 years for rebelling against and showing disobedience to the ruler, the attempt to remove him from power, contesting allegiance to him, contesting the conscience of the people in power, contesting the faith and conscience of the recognized scholars of this country, dispraising them and the attempt to distract the public from them to those who provoke rebellion against the ruler.
The charges in the preliminary ruling also included doubting the judicial independence, contesting the judges’ reliability, and deceiving the public for the incitation of the public opinion to come into conflict with the legal policy of the ruler allegedly for reformation, not to mention his admission of money laundry by raising funds individually without the ruler’s permission and supporting terrorism.
The second defendant is a former judge. He was sentenced to 15 years in prison and barred from traveling for 15 years for rebelling against and showing disobedience to the ruler, breaching the allegiance he pledged to the ruler by taking part in the establishment of the organization called “Tawassu” aiming at causing chaos under the pretext of advice and reformation, attending the organization’s meetings, insisting on its approach allegedly for advice, seeking the help of foreign parties for so doing, holding secret meetings, damaging the standing of the scholars of this country, underrating them as well as the Fatwas they issued and contesting the ruler’s policy on judiciary and judges.
The conviction of the second defendant also included the support for the theorists of the deviant Takfiri thinking by defending them and adopting the Kharijite thinking in dealing with the ruler and defaming him as well as his legal policy.
The third defendant was sentenced to 20 years in prison and prevented from traveling after his release for 20 years for rebellion against and showing disobedience to the ruler by taking part in the establishment of a secret organization (Tawassu), adopting the Kharijite approach as represented in declaring the ruler a disbeliever, contesting his faith and Jihad without his permission through preparing a project to create a factional alliance for fighting in Iraq.
The fourth defendant was sentenced to 22 years in prison, not allowed to travel for 22 years after his release, and a one million riyal fine for rebelling against the ruler, contesting the conscience of the people in power, refusing to submit to the Fatwas issued about the public affairs, taking part in the establishment of the (Tawassu) organization, deceiving the public opinion by showing that this organization was intended as giving advice to the ruler and supporting the thinking and approach of the terrorist Al-Qaeda organization.
The fifth defendant was sentenced to 20 years in prison and banned from traveling for 20 years after his release for rebelling against the ruler, contesting the allegiance to him, his participation along with the (sixth, seventh, eighth and ninth) defendants in the establishment of (Tawassu) organization, committing money laundry by raising funds, encouraging the same without the ruler’s permission and in an unregulated way, and supporting the thinking of Al-Qaeda organization by giving a Fatwa urging participation in the fight taking place in Iraq without the ruler’s permission and making it obligatory to provide financial support for that fighting.
The ninth defendant faced the charges of taking part in financing terrorism and terrorist operations by harboring the first defendant when raising two million riyals for this purpose.
The tenth defendant, as well as the thirteenth defendant, was sentenced to 25 years in prison and prevention from traveling for 25 years after his release for adopting the Kharijite thinking in dealing with the ruler by taking part along with the mastermind (the first defendant) in the introduction of the so-called “Generation” project, which is an organization calling for rebelling against and opposing the ruler and recruiting youth for this purpose.
The eleventh defendant who is a Syrian national was sentenced to 15 years in prison and his deportation from the country after his release for his defamation of and rebellion against the ruler, adopting the Kharijite approach which does not require the ruler’s permission or standard for Jihad, assisting and supporting fighting in Iraq, calling for taking part in such fighting and committing money laundry through his participation in harboring the first defendant for raising funds for militias fighting in Iraq in an illegal way without the ruler’s permission.
The twelfth defendant was sentenced to 25 years in prison for adopting the Kharijite approach to Jihad which does not require the ruler’s permission, assistance, or support for Jihad as represented in fighting in Iraq by harboring the first defendant in his defense of Al-Qaeda in Iraq, hosting one leader of Al-Qaeda in Iraq, and harboring the first defendant’s praise of one of the conspirators of 11 September attacks and his description as the “Azdi Boy”.
The thirteenth defendant faced the charges of participation in the establishment of an organization inside and outside the country under the name of “The Generation Project” for raising funds allegedly for charity work, supporting it by establishing special endowments and exploiting it for encouraging youth to finance terrorism.
The fourteenth defendant was convicted of money laundry by harboring and collaborating with the first defendant for raising funds for militias in Iraq in an illegal way and harboring him for raising large amounts for this purpose without the ruler’s permission and in an illegal way.
The fifteenth and sixteenth defendants faced the charges of taking part in establishing an organization for causing chaos to come to power, exploiting terrorist incidents and seeking help from both foreign and internal parties to benefit from their experiences.
– Alarabiya Net, 22 November 2011
– Asharq Al-Awsat, 13 July 2011 – 25 July 2011
– Al-Hayat Newspaper, 23 November 2011
– Deutsche Welle, 13/7/2011