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Ex-Kuwait Leader Faces Execution

April 17, 2000

KUWAIT (AP) _ The prosecution on Monday demanded the death sentence for a Kuwaiti army reservist who was appointed by Iraq as puppet prime minister shortly after Baghdad’s invasion in 1990.

Alaa Hussein, 41, was sentenced to death in absentia for treason in 1993, two years after the U.S.-led international coalition liberated Kuwait in the Persian Gulf War.

He returned from exile in January, saying he had been forced to accept the job and wanted to prove his innocence, and was granted a retrial.

Hussein told the court: ``I had no power to stand in the face of (Iraqi) terrorism. They told me what to wear, what to drive, what presents to accept ... I couldn’t refuse.″

Hussein has told the three-judge panel he doesn’t know why the Iraqis chose him to head the puppet cabinet, which was dissolved less than a week after Iraq annexed Kuwait.

The defendant has said that on learning of Iraq’s invasion in August 1990, he donned military clothes and headed to an army camp when the Iraqis arrested him.

But the prosecutor said there were no mobilization orders for reserves that day.

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