The Specialized Criminal Court in Riyadh on Wednesday issued a primary verdict against two Saudi women for trying to sneak into Yemen to join ISIS in Syria, via Yemen’s al-Qaeda, along with six children and two Yemeni smugglers.
The two women were sentenced to jail and banned to travel. Four of the children were of their own while two were smuggled without the knowledge of their parents.
Saudi authorities took the children to their parents after arresting the two women in Jazan, in the southwest corner of Saudi Arabia in April 2014.
The husband of one of the women was an ISIS militant in Syria, while the spouse of the other woman was in prison for terrorism-related offenses.
The women, part of a cell made up of 12 terrorists, were also found guilty of attempting to promote al-Qaeda through social media, incite demonstrations in Buraidah in Al-Qassim and insult the Kingdom, the government, security personnel and religious scholars from Saudi Arabia.
The first woman was sentenced in absentia for 13 years in jail and was banned from traveling for the same period. The other received an 11-year sentence.
The two women had reportedly collected sums of money, as well as quantities of gold and silver in the central region of al-Qassim, before taking the six children.
Over the past few years, al-Qaeda has tried to exploit women, whether in the countries that it targets, like Saudi Arabia, take advantage of women and children and also blackmail states in order to put pressure on them, or for money to fund the organization.
They might also use the women for logistical reasons given that terrorist groups operate in the countries they enter – like Yemen or Syria – to join groups such as the Nusra Front and ISIS.
A private plane carrying relatives of the women and the children, as well as religious scholars and human rights activists, was dispatched by the interior minister to Jazan to investigate with them, according to officials.