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Kuwait sentences five IS suspects to 10 years in jail – Assembly panel to probe Iran-linked cell claims

KUWAIT: The criminal court yesterday sentenced five men to 10 years in jail each for financing the Islamic State group known as Da’esh and ordered that two of the convicts to be deported for being foreigners. The court also acquitted two other men from the charges which included raising funds for the jihadist group which is fighting in Syria and Iraq and training members on the use of arms.

The men were accused of raising around KD 400,000 and transferring them to Da’esh through the United Arab Emirates and Turkey. The ruling can still be challenged before the appeals and supreme courts.

Kuwaiti courts have in the past year issued several verdicts against people supporting or sympathizing with the Islamic State which claimed the worst bombing in Kuwait in June. A Saudi suicide bomber blew himself up in a Shiite mosque killing 26 people and wounding 227 others.

The criminal court in September sentenced seven men to death, five in absentia, for assisting the Saudi bomber. Eight others were handed jail terms from two to 15 years. The case is currently in the appeals stage.

In other cases, the criminal court yesterday postponed until November 23 the case involving MP Abdulhameed Dashti who is charged with making highly critical comments against Bahrain, a member of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) state. The postponement came after Dashti declined to make his defense arguments as was instructed by the court and instead sued the foreign ministry for making the accusations against him. The court also decided to appoint a lawyer to defend Dashti after refusing to make his own defense. Dashti is himself a lawyer.

The court also set November 16 to issue its verdict against former MPs and brothers Mubarak and Nasser Al-Duwailah and Tareq Suwaidan for allegedly undermining Egypt and threatening to damage Kuwaiti diplomatic ties with Cairo after making comments on Twitter insulting to Egypt.

In the meantime, the National Assembly human rights defense committee yesterday elected MP Jamal Al-Omar as its head and MP Askar Al-Enezi as the rapporteur.

Enezi said that the committee has received a complaint from one of the 26 members on trial for alleged links to Iran and Hezbollah and that the committee will investigate the claim. He did not elaborate on the nature of the complaint but a majority of the defendants in the case have complained of physical torture by the secret service.

The Assembly’s public funds protection committee also elected MP Abdullah Al-Turaiji as its head and MP Saif Al-Azemi as the rapporteur. Azemi said the panel decided to withdraw a report on Kuwaiti investments in London from the National Assembly. The committee was asked in the previous term to investigate suspected violations at the Kuwaiti investments overseas. The National Assembly will hold its first regular meeting in the current term today. It is scheduled to discuss a large number of draft laws.

By B Izzak

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