Eight Sentenced to Death for Iraqi Collaboration
KUWAIT CITY (AP) _ Martial-law judges today sentenced eight men to hang for collaborating with Iraqi invaders, setting off screams and sobbing that have become routine in the court.
It was the highest number of death sentences in a single day since the internationally criticized trials started on May 19.
Twenty-nine people have now been sentenced to Kuwait’s gallows for their roles in Iraq’s seven-month occupation of the Persian Gulf emirate.
Six Jordanians, including two brothers; a stateless Arab raised in Kuwait; and an Iraqi were sentenced to death.
Brothers Mamoun Mohammed Masoud and Ayman Mohammed Masoud were convicted of collaboration and possession of unlicensed weapons. A third brother, Malik, was sentenced to 12 years in prison.
The sister of the Masoud brother screamed when she heard the death sentences. His mother cried, ″Mamoun is just 23 3/8 Only God can avenge this injustice 3/8″
A Kuwaiti woman who said she was the aunt of the stateless man, Samir Khalaf Aboud, refused to leave the hallway outside the court, asking passersby what she could do to save the nephew she had raised since his mother’s death.
″Kuwait’s government was never unjust 3/8″ she screamed. ″What is causing all this unfairness?″
The others sentenced to be hanged were: Jordanians Bilal Abdel Rahim Abou Hamed, Imad Sami Mohammed, Raid Abdul Rauf and Ra’id Mufid; and Iraqi Sabah Mohammed Hasan.
Three other defendants were sentenced to life imprisonment. Among them was a Jordanian translator, Na’il Subhi al-Borno, accused of theft and aiding the enemy.
There is no appeal, but the martial-law governor, Crown Prince Saad Abdullah al-Sabah, must approve all sentences in consultation with three judges from the Court of Appeals.
The war crimes trials have been condemned by Kuwaiti lawyers and international human rights organizations for the lack of evidence presented in court. Human rights groups have also criticized Kuwait as holding foreigners to a standard of loyalty even citizens could not meet.
The London-based human rights group Article 19 today protested death sentences given to six people accused of working for an Iraqi-run occupation newspaper, Al-Nida.
In a letter to the Kuwaiti ambassador to Britain, the group called for the Kuwaiti government to review all verdicts and sentences already returned and halt future trials until the courts comply with international standards.
The Kuwaiti Embassy said the convictions and sentences were justified.
″They were part of Saddam’s war machine, they were not journalists as such. They were people who were propagandists for Saddam Hussein and their actions led to loss of lives and death,″ the ambassador’s spokesman said.
The New York-based Human Rights Watch sent a letter Wednesday to the emir, Sheik Jaber al-Ahmed al-Sabah, calling for the trials to be halted because they fall short of international standards of justice.
Jordan has also demanded that the trials stop and the executions be stayed.
But the criticism has had little impact in Kuwait, whose citizens, especially tens of thousands just returning from abroad, see the trials as a respectable form of revenge.
United Nations Secretary-General Javier Perez de Cuellar has called for clemency, while Germany and France have expressed concern about the trials.
Those sentenced to death to date for collaboration convictions include 11 stateless Arabs, nine Jordanians, two Palestinians, two Lebanese, a Kuwaiti, an Iraqi and three whose nationality was not known.
More than 325 of an expected 450 defendants have appeared in court.