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Death sentence for killer of Irish BBC cameraman in Saudi

© 2014 AFP

18 November 2014

The man who gunned down an Irish cameraman working for the BBC in Saudi Arabia 10 years ago has been sentenced to death, a diplomatic source told AFP on Tuesday.

Simon Cumbers, 36, was filming near the home of a wanted militant in the Saudi capital when he was killed in the 2004 attack, in which the current BBC security correspondent Frank Gardner was also left paralysed.

The man, reportedly a Saudi, "was sentenced for the murder of Simon Cumbers," said the source, who was present at Monday's court hearing.

"As I understand it, there was a whole series of charges," which also related to the wounding of Gardner, said the source.

Cumber's killer was among three men the official Saudi Press Agency reported were sentenced to death on Monday for Al-Qaeda linked crimes.

Five others were jailed for between 25 and 30 years for similar offences.

It described as "heinous" the offences committed by those sentenced to death but did not detail their roles or mention the attack on the BBC crew.

The group was convicted of offences that included an attack on the Al-Mahya residential compound in Riyadh 11 years ago. Seventeen people, mostly from Arab countries, were killed.

The group was also found guilty of plotting to storm companies and a residential compound in the Gulf coast community of Khobar to kill foreigners and members of the security forces, SPA said.

According to another accusation, they prepared car bombs in a plan to "wreak havoc" inside the kingdom.

Authorities in 2011 established specialised tribunals to try Saudis and foreigners accused of belonging to Al-Qaeda, or of involvement in deadly attacks in the kingdom between 2003 and 2006.

The latest convictions come with Saudi Arabia and its Gulf neighbours taking part in US-led air strikes against Islamic State group extremists in Syria, which has raised concerns about possible retaliation in the kingdom.