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Saudis execute former regional journalist’s killer

Simon CumbersThe killer of a former regional journalist has been executed in Saudi Arabia, according to reports.

Simon Cumbers, left, who worked on the features desk at the Ipswich Star, was murdered in 2004 after being attacked by members of Al-Quaeda.

Simon was working as a cameraman with BBC security correspondent Frank Gardner when he was shot dead in the Saudi capital Riyadh.

Frank survived the attack but was left with serious injuries which now means he has to use a wheelchair much of the time.

Adel al-Dhubaiti was convicted of the murder in November 2014 and was sentenced to death, despite the wishes of Simon’s family who say they oppose the death penalty.

The sentence is understood to have been among 47 carried out over the New Year by the Saudi state.   Others to have been executed include Sheikh Nimr, a noted critic of the Saudi government, which has led to condemnation across the world.

Simon worked on the Star features desk for about a year in the 1990s before returning to his home country of Ireland to work in radio, later retraining as a cameraman.

A report in the Star reads: “Mr Cumbers was very young when he worked in Ipswich – it was his first job in the UK after leaving university – but he was very enthusiastic and always keen to take on any challenge.

“After his death, his family and friends founded the Simon Cumbers Media Fund. The aim of the fund is to assist and promote more and better quality media coverage of development issues in the Irish media.

“It has allowed other young Irish journalists to travel to lesser-known parts of the work to report on development issues.”

Simon’s family have said they do not want to comment on the reports, but in 2009 his father Robert told the Meath Chronicle: “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.”