Kuwait upholds death sentence in ISIL-claimed mosque bombing
Kuwait City // Kuwait’s appeals court on Sunday upheld the death penalty for the prime suspect of the bombing of a Shiite mosque claimed by the ISIL group that killed 26 people.
Abdulrahman Sabah Saud, who drove the suicide bomber to the mosque site on June 26, was issued a death penalty by the lower court in September, together with the alleged leader of ISIL in Kuwait, Fahad Farraj Muhareb.
The court on Sunday reduced the death sentence handed out to Muhareb, to 15 years in prison, but upheld Saud’s death penalty.
It also handed out jail terms of between two and 15 years to eight others, including five women, and acquitted 14 others in September.
In the latest ruling, the appeals court also acquitted one of the five women who was jailed in September.
There was tight security for the hearing on Sunday, with armoured vehicles outside the Kuwait City court complex and helicopters patrolling overhead.
Judge Hani Al Hamdan said that the cases of five men sentenced to death in absentia for their role in the bombing were not reviewed because they remained at large.
Under Kuwaiti law, sentences issued in absentia are not reviewed by higher courts until convicts appear.
Four of the men at large are Saudis, including two brothers who smuggled the explosives belt used in the attack into Kuwait from neighbouring Saudi Arabia. The fifth is a stateless Arab.
A total of 29 defendants, seven of them women, had been on trial on charges of helping the Saudi suicide bomber carry out the attack on a Shiite mosque in the capital, which was the bloodiest in Kuwait’s history.
During the initial trial, Saud confessed to most charges but he denied all of them in the appeals court.
Among those acquitted on Sunday was Jarrah Nimer, owner of the car used to drop off the bomber.
An ISIL-affiliated group calling itself Najd Province claimed the Kuwait City bombing as well as suicide attacks at two Shiite mosques in Saudi Arabia in May.
Najd is the central region of Saudi Arabia.
The Sunni extremists of ISIL consider Shiites to be heretics and have repeatedly attacked Shiite targets in the region.
Kuwaiti courts have already issued several verdicts on ISIL supporters and financiers.
* Agence France-Presse
Updated: December 13, 2015 04:00 AM