Saudi Arabia sentences 18 people to 80 years in prison for drug use, possession

A Jeddah court has sentenced 17 Saudi nationals and one Syrian resident to a total of 80 years in prison after they were convicted of using and possessing different types of drugs, local Saudi daily Okaz reported on Wednesday.

The Criminal Court convicted the group for possessing and using cocaine, hash and crystal meth, according to the report, which added the group had used a cabin as a meeting place.

Okaz, citing sources familiar with the case, said that the 18 included businessmen and women, marketing directors as well as university students studying nursing and pharmacy.

The convicted were handed a total prison sentence of 80 years in addition to travel bans, each for a different time period.

The daily also said that the rulings came after a series of virtual and in-person court sessions while noting that the Appeals Court had ratified the rulings after the convicts objected to them.

In its reports, Okaz said that the Saudi law differentiates between penalties handed to convicts depending on whether they are smugglers, dealers, or drug users.

Saudi Arabia has been exerting long-term efforts to curb the smuggling of drugs into the Kingdom and cracking down on illicit drug trafficking.

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