KUWAIT CITY, Jan 12, (Agencies): The criminal court handed down on Tuesday a series of verdicts against members of the terrorist cell ranging from capital punishment to long prison terms. The court also turned this case over to the appeals court to adjudicate it within a month.
The criminal court sentenced two of the accused in the terrorist cell to death, while one of the accused in the 26-member cell was given a sentence of life imprisonment. Other accused defendants in the case received sentences from fi ve to ten to 15 years in prison. One of them was fi ned KD 5,000 while another was acquitted of all charges against him.
Furthermore, the court ordered the confi scation of all of the arsenal that were possessed by the terrorist cell. In the court’s sentencing statement, it was noted that Kuwait remains a country of law and order beloved by its people whose allegiance is to their rulers and the nation’s institutions. It affi rmed the homogeneity of all strata of the nation’s ethnic groups and faiths.
Last September the public prosecutor lodged criminal charges against the terrorist cell known as the “Al-Abdali Cell,” in which 26 defendants were put on trial over possession of huge cache of weapons and ammunition, as well as espionage for Iran and Hezbollah.
The two sentenced to death, included an Iranian being tried in absentia, were convicted of “spying for Iran” and plotting attacks in the country. The Iranian, Abdulreda Hayder, was on trial along with 25 Kuwaiti Shiites on charges of spying for Iran and hiding large quantities of arms and ammunition in underground depots.
The court said Hayder is an Iranian spy who recruited the Kuwaiti Shiites and arranged for their travel to Lebanon, where they received military training from Iranbacked Shiite militia group Hezbollah.
The other man sentenced to death, Kuwaiti Hasan Abdulhadi Ali, had been a member of Hezbollah since 1996 and was “the mastermind of the cell”, the court said. During the trial, which began in September, all 23 defendants present in court denied the charges and alleged that confessions were extracted under torture. They told the court they were beaten and given electric shocks, with interrogators threatening to kill them if they did not sign prepared confessions. Iran has denied any links to the group.
The verdicts come amid deep tensions between Tehran and Gulf Arab states after Iranian protesters on Jan 2 torched Saudi Arabian diplomatic missions in the Shiite-dominated Islamic republic.
The attacks were in anger over Riyadh’s execution of Nimr al-Nimr, a prominent cleric from the kingdom’s Shiite minority. Riyadh cut diplomatic ties with Tehran the next day and a number of its Sunni Arab allies followed suit, including Bahrain and Sudan. Other Arab countries downgraded ties or recalled their envoys from Tehran.
Kuwait recalled its ambassador from Iran to protest the attacks and summoned Tehran’s ambassador to express its disapproval. Around a third of Kuwait’s native population of 1.3 million is Shiite. Another Sunni-ruled Gulf state, Bahrain, said on Wednesday that it had dismantled an Iran-linked “terror” cell that was planning attacks in the kingdom. The hearing Tuesday was held amid tight security, with armoured vehicles with mounted machineguns stationed around the Palace of Justice in Kuwait City. Only close relatives of the defendants, lawyers and journalists were allowed to attend the hearing.