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(May 31, 2012) A Kuwait appellate court recently issued its decision in a case involving seven people accused of spying for Iran. The court reduced the sentences of three convicts, two Iranians and one Kuwaiti, from capital punishment to life in prison; confirmed the sentence of life in prison of a fourth, who is classified as "bidoun," meaning a Kuwaiti inhabitant who is without citizenship; and acquitted three others, two Iranians and one Syrian. Those whose sentences were reduced to life imprisonment were working for the Kuwaiti military at the time of their arrest in May 2010 on suspicion that they supplied Iran with information about the Kuwaiti army and about the U.S. army troops stationed in Kuwait and the Gulf region. Iran and the accused have denied involvement in any espionage operation. (Kuwait: Life Sentences for Three Implicated in the Iranian Spying Network [in Arabic], ASHARQ AL-AWSAT (May 29, 2012).)

The conviction is not yet final, because it might be appealed to the Cassation Court. Under article 8 of Kuwaiti Law No. 40 of 1972, the convicted defendants, as well as the prosecutor, may file appeals to the Cassation Court, but only on grounds of the commission of specific legal errors. The proceedings of the trial court are considered valid as a matter of law unless the appellant can prove otherwise. (Law No. 40 of 1972 [in Arabic], Legal Information Network of the Gulf States Cooperation Council (last visited May 30, 2012).)

Commenting on this judicial decision, a spokesman for the Iranian Foreign Ministry said that the allegations of the Kuwaitis against Iranian citizens are weak and without foundation. He added that to date Kuwait has not allowed the Iranian consular authority to contact the convicted Iranian citizens. (The Verdicts Against Our Nationals in Kuwait Are Rejected and Constitute Fabricated Scenarios of No Use [in Arabic], ALANBA (May 30, 2012).)

Author: Issam Saliba More by this author
Topic: Crime and law enforcement More on this topic
Jurisdiction: Kuwait More about this jurisdiction

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Last updated: 05/31/2012