Kuwaiti court sentences seven to death for June mosque bombing

Wednesday, September 16, 2015


A file photo of the mosque.
Image: Abza.
(Image missing from Commons: image; log)

A court in Kuwait yesterday sentenced fifteen people for involvement in June's bombing of the Imam Sadiq Mosque. Seven were sentenced to death.

The suicide attack in Kuwait City killed 26 and injured 227. The trial of seven women and 22 men before Judge Mohammad al-Duaij produced fourteen acquittals. All those sentenced to death were men; prison terms from two to fifteen years were imposed on the remaining convicts. A number were tried in absentia.

Sunni militants Islamic State (IS) claimed responsibility for the attack. IS view Shi'ites as enemies. Conducted in the Shi'ite mosque during Friday prayers, the attack came during Ramadan. IS hold a large swathe of Iraq and Syria. Sunnis and Shi'ites live together peacefully in Kuwait. It was amongst the worst attacks to hit the nation in decades.

The accused include Kuwaiti, Saudi, and Pakistani citizens, as well as stateless individuals. Abdul Rahman Sabah Saud, stateless, admitted driving bomber Fahad Suleiman Abdulmohsen al-Gabbaa, Saudi, to the mosque. Saud, also accused of handling explosives, denied intending to harm any people.

The court draws attention to the dangers of this extremist ideology

—Judge Mohammad al-Duaij

Judge al-Duaij found Fahad Farraj Muhareb to be an IS leader and sentenced him to death. Muhareb and Saud are in Kuwaiti custody. Saudi brothers Mohammad and Majed al-Zahrani, who have been detained in their homeland but were tried in absentia, were held to have transported the explosives used out of Saudi Arabia. Two stateless men convicted of being IS soldiers and a man whose identity is unclear were also sentenced to death in their absence.

Of the eight given prison terms, three were men and five women. They were convicted of offences such as assisting the attack, training IS fighters, and withholding knowledge about the bombing. The death row convicts faced more serious charges such as premeditated murder.

Appeals are possible. The prosecution had sought death sentences for eleven defendents.

Amnesty International acknowledged the bombing was "an utterly heinous and callous criminal act" but said the death sentences are "misguided" and "must be overturned". The group, which is categorically opposed to the death penalty, said Kuwait conducted five executions in 2013 and none at all last year.

Judge al-Duaij said in delivering his judgement "The court draws attention to the dangers of this extremist ideology that resorts to terrorism for its implementation."