Saudi Arabia execute inmate who shot BBC journalist Frank Gardner and killed cameraman Simon Cumbers

Mr Gardner was shot six times as he tried to film a report on al-Qaeda in Saudi Arabia

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The Independent Online

A Saudi Arabian prisoner  convicted of the attempted murder of BBC correspondent Frank Gardner and the murder of his cameraman Simon Cumbers was among the 47 prisoners executed by Saudi Arabia.

Saudi national Adel al-Dhubaiti opened fire on the BBC reporter and Mr Cumbers while the pair were filming for a report on al-Qaeda in the oil-rich kingdom. 

Mr Gardner, who is now the BBC’s security correspondent, was shot six times during the 2004 ambush in Riyadh. The injuries left him partially paralysed but he has continued to broadcast. 

Simon Cumbers, a 36-year-old Irish national, was killed during the attack.

After Dhubaiti was sentenced to death, Gardner said in an interview with the Telegraph in 2014 that he would never forgive the terrorists who inflicted the injuries on him and killed his colleague. 

He said: “He is completely unrepentant. He has never said sorry. He is still in the mindset that he had when he attacked us. So forgiveness is not really an option.

“It’s not like this man’s parents have written to me or anyone saying, ‘Please forgive him.’ No one has apologised.”

Gardner also declined the offer to meet Dhubaiti. He said: “I don’t want to see this guy. Why would I? What am I going to get from it? The man’s soul is dead.”

Mr Gardner told the Independent he did not want to comment on the execution.

Mr Cumber’s parents, Robert and Bronagh, from Navan in County Meath, had previously called on the Saudi Arabian 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. We do not want this man to be executed if he is found guilty,” Mr Cumbers said in 2009.

In a statement issued to Irish broadcaster RTÉ after the Saudi court announced its decision, he said the family’s view had not changed: “I have mixed feelings about the sentencing. On the one hand, I am pleased that the murderer has had his fate decided and that the long wait is over.

“It won’t bring Simon back, but it puts an end to the waiting. On the other hand, both Bronagh and I sympathise with Dubayti’s [the sentenced man] parents, who must now suffer that tremendous loss that we feel.”