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Man accepts king's offer to terrorists

Families of victims usually determine penalty

• Saudi: Foreigners can carry guns
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Terrorists in Saudi Arabia given an option.
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RIYADH, Saudi Arabia (CNN) -- A man wanted in connection with crimes against the kingdom's security turned himself in to authorities hours after Saudi Arabia's king issued an offer to deal fairly with terrorists who give themselves up within a month.

The Saudi news agency reported Thursday that Saaban bin Mohammed al-Shahry surrendered to security agents a few hours after Crown Prince Abdullah announced the king's edict, according to a senior Interior Ministry official.

"We are announcing for the last time that we are opening the door to repentance and for those to return to righteousness," Abdullah said in a nationally televised address Wednesday.

"To everyone who has gone out of the righteous way and has committed a crime in the name of religion, and to everyone who belongs to that group that has done itself a disservice, everyone who has been captured in terror acts is given the chance to come back to God if they want to save their lives, their souls.

"If they give themselves up without force within one month maximum from the date of this speech, we can promise them that they are going to be safe."

Abdullah said all such people would be dealt with fairly, in accordance with Islamic law.

"If they are wise and they accept it, then they are saved. And if they snub it, then God is not going to forbid us from hitting them with our force, which we get from our dependence on God."

He added that Saudi forces would not hesitate to act. (Full story)

The Interior Ministry official said that in accordance with the offer, al-Shahry can visit his family and stay with them until a date for his questioning is set.

Last week, American engineer Paul Johnson Jr. was beheaded by his captors in Saudi Arabia. (Full story)

Hours later, Saudi forces killed four terrorist suspects linked to the kidnapping, one of them Abdel Aziz al-Muqrin, the top name on the Interior Ministry's most-wanted list. (Profile)

Saudi security forces said Wednesday's speech was timed to try to exploit the vacuum within al Qaeda's leadership caused by al-Muqrin's death, and to reach out to the young members of al Qaeda who have not been involved in serious crimes.

Under Islamic Sharia law, the fate of those people involved in killings would be decided by the families of the victims.

CNNArabic Editor Caroline Faraj contributed to this report.

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