June 23, 2004
JIDDAH, Saudi Arabia - Saudi Arabia announced a limited amnesty Wednesday for Muslim militants who surrender in the next month, saying they will not face the death penalty and will only be prosecuted if they committed acts that hurt others.
Crown Prince Abdullah read the brief announcement on behalf of his half-brother, King Fahd, on state television Wednesday.
He said the offer was open to anyone who has not yet been "arrested for carrying out terrorist acts."
"We are opening the door of amnesty ... to everyone who deviated from the path of right and committed a crime in the name of religion, which is in fact a corruption on earth," he said.
"We swear by God that nothing will prevent us from striking with our full might" anyone who ignores the offer, Abullah said.
Saudi Arabia has seen a string of fatal attacks blamed on al-Qaida and sympathizers of the anti-Western terror network. Some of the attacks targeting foreigners have been unusually brazen and gruesome.
The most recent of the attacks was the June 12 kidnapping of American engineer Paul M. Johnson, Jr., whose beheading was announced six days later on the Internet - to the Interior Ministry.