Officials from a Saudi Islamic charity are on trial in an ongoing, multi-defendant prosecution in Riyadh. The Arab News is calling them members of the “Haramain Cell.”
The Saudi-based Al Haramain Islamic Foundation has been under international scrutiny since 9/11 for its role in financing terrorism around the world. Its Oregon branch was shut down by federal authorities and its leader was convicted in 2010. Its Saudi parent organization was said to have been rolled “along with several other charities, into a new government-run National Commission for Relief and Charity Work Abroad.”
Saudi investigators and prosecutors have provided cover for the Haramain Cell charity workers by claiming that they were “misusing” their positions through fraud and “using the names of reputable people as alibis.” Money Jihad has no doubt that “reputable people” were actually involved, and the Saudis have concocted the story of “misuse” as a public relations favor for their own elites. This case represents willful continuity, not an accidental deviation, from Haramain’s longstanding jihadist patronage.
Defendants have also been charged with arming militants in Iraq. From Arab News via Maktoob on Mar. 27:
Trial of terror suspects continues
A terror suspect is on trial in a special court in Riyadh for allegedly planning to set up a weapons factory to supply militants in Iraq and for opening an office in China to carry out his logistical operations.
“Defendant No.12 collaborated with Abu Mustafa Al-Iraqi to manufacture SAM 7 missiles while he was in Afghanistan,” said representative of the Bureau of Investigation and Public Prosecution (BIPP) during the court hearing on Sunday.
The BIP also charged defendant No. 8, affiliated to the terror cell known as the Haramain Cell, with misusing his position as the chairman of a leading charity fund in the Kingdom to enable Al-Qaeda operatives to infiltrate the fund’s ranks and divert its revenue to finance terror operations inside and outside the Kingdom.
“Even after defendant No. 8 was informed officially of the decision to shut down the charity organization and freeze its account, he went against the court’s ruling by fraudulently investing the charity’s funds in militant activities, using the names of reputable people as alibis,” the BIP official said during his court appeal.
The BIP added that defendant No. 8 invested SR 751.8 million [approximately 200 million USD], belonging to the charity to buy property, including two large buildings, at 45 locations in various provinces in the Kingdom. Moreover the investment returns from the property plots were channeled into financing terror activities, the BIP source said.
The suspect was also accused of using one of the charity’s properties to construct a water desalination factory at the cost of SR 4 million, which was placed under his son’s ownership.
Eleven of the 22 members of the Haramain Cell appeared in court on Sunday, Al-Hayat daily reported.
The suspects face charges of working in tandem with eight terror organizations including Al-Qaeda, Jamaat Abu Yusuf and Usba Al-Ansar.
Defendant No. 1 is accused of assisting certain terror organizations financially with SR8.4 million, including transferring SR2.2 million to a Saudi detained in a Lebanese jail for links with a Lebanese-based terror outfit.
Meanwhile, defendant No. 2, who holds a doctoral degree, has been charged with planning terrorist attacks in the Kingdom, in coordination with Al-Qaeda. The suspect has also been accused of contacting a number of members from Al-Qaeda as well as meeting and recruiting representatives from various terror organizations during Haj and Umrah seasons.
Charges against defendant No.7 include misappropriating the charity’s funds as well as supporting terror activities in the Kingdom.