Saudi "Terror Financing" Arrests: Some clues

The Saudi Interior Ministry announced on February 3, 2007 the arrest of 10 suspects “carrying out illegal activities including collecting donations illegally ... and sending them to suspected parties”.

The announcement raises questions as to its real objective, as most of the suspects were know for years by the Saudi government as political dissidents. Some were previously detained.

Sulaiman Al Rushudi, a lawyer, was one of cofounders of the Committee for the Defense of Legitimate Rights (CDLR) in London in May 1993 closely linked to Osama Bin Laden. He was arrested in September 1994 along with several clerics and was detained for several years. Another CDLR founder, Saad Al-Faqih, has been listed as SDGT in 2004. Also arrested is Essam Al Basrawi, a lawyer who defended reformists during Saudi trials in 2004. Another suspect is a former cleric and attorney, Musa Al Qarni, who had publicly supported Jihad and was a personal friend of Osama Bin Laden during the Afghan war.

Were these arrests really related to “terrorism financing”? And if so, why did the Saudi government act only today when these individuals have been under surveillance for years?

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