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Drugs Charge Dropped Against Daughter of Kuwaiti Premier

September 18, 1993

LONDON (AP) _ British authorities have decided not to proceed with a drugs smuggling charge against the daughter of the prime minister of Kuwait, officials said Friday.

The Customs and Excise department said in a statement that the case against Princess Maryam, 22, was dropped ″for legal reasons.″ Her father is Crown Prince Sheik Saad Abdullah al-Sabah.

A British law-enforcement official, speaking on condition of anonymity, later told The Associated Press there had been a high probability that the princess would have claimed diplomatic immunity.

She was charged after British Airways staff members found 15 grams of marijuana and 1 gram each of heroin and cocaine in her baggage July 25 as she was about to leave for Kuwait from London’s Heathrow airport, the Customs and Excise statement said.

She was released on bail on the same date and allowed to return to Kuwait, the statement said.

Had the princess been convicted of smuggling illegal narcotics, she most likely would have been fined several hundred dollars but not faced a jail term.

The Foreign Office declined to comment on a report Friday in the Daily Mail, a national newspaper, that authorities quietly dropped the case because Britain feared provoking a diplomatic incident with its wealthy Gulf War ally.

The Daily Mail reported: ″A significant factor (in the decision to drop the charge) is believed to have been that the arrest came during negotiations with Kuwait on the last stage of an arms contract reported to be worth more than 500 million pounds ($765 million).″

The paper said government ministers want to ensure that Britain wins a share of nearly $10.7 billion in rearmament contracts that Kuwait is expected to award over the next seven years.

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