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Killer of journalist gets death sentence

A SAUDI Arabian court has handed down the death sentence to the killer of Irish journalist Simon Cumbers.

The 36-year-old from Navan, Co Meath, was shot dead while filming a report on terrorism in the kingdom in 2004.

Adil Sa'ad Al-Dubayti Al Mutayri, who was accused of murder and declaring war against the state along with two other defendants, was sentenced to death at a hearing in Riyadh yesterday.

The sentence, which is subject to appeal, was last night criticised by Amnesty International executive director Colm O'Gorman, who said the organisation "condemns the death penalty in all cases".

Mr Cumbers had worked for ITN and Channel 4 and also set up his own production company with his wife Louise Bevan.

He was filming in Saudi Arabia for a BBC programme on al-Qaeda when he was attacked by gunmen. His colleague Frank Gardner was paralysed.

Mr Cumbers' parents, Bronagh and Robert, had previously appealed to the Saudi authorities not to execute their son's killer.

"Simon was a pacifist, someone who would not have wanted the death penalty and would have opposed it," said Mr Cumbers. "We do not want this man to be executed if he is found guilty."

The Simon Cumbers Media Fund was set up by Irish Aid a year after his death.

The fund did not wish to comment on the sentencing when contacted last night.