KUWAIT CITY, July 5: The friends of a South African military man, Gareth Rutherford, sentenced to life imprisonment in Kuwait since 2008 after being convicted in a drug trafficking case has launched an online campaign to demand his release or reduction in jail term, reports Al-Rai daily.
His military friends have rallied behind him in an attempt to get him freed or his sentence commuted. According to the case papers on his way to the airport to catch a flight to Cape Town from Kuwait on Sept 18, 2008 he was asked to make a detour into the city to pick up a package for a friend.
Rutherford did not think much of it. He stopped at a tire shop and a group of men loaded the vehicle he was travelling in with tyres.
When he left the tire shop‚ he drove straight into what he believes was a trap. Law enforcement officials cornered him.
They searched his vehicle and found drugs hidden inside the tyres. Dawid Lotter‚ a military friend is attempting to try to save Rutherford but he refuses to give up until he is reunited with his friend.
Lotter has set up an online petition that will hopefully get his friend’s sentence reduced. Rutherford’s initial sentence was a death sentence but was later changed to a life sentence. Lotter explains the two met in 1980 during Operation Sceptic and during this operation‚ Rutherford was awarded a medal for the bravery he displayed during the war.
Lotter has called on the help of his fellow army men that served with him and Rutherford to sign the petition and spread the word on it.
Lotter aims to get 5‚000 signatures on the petition so that he can take it to the higher authorities in Kuwait and explain that Rutherford was wrongly sentenced for a charge of a doubtful nature. The petition currently has 1‚799 signatures.