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Kuwait hangs five, including 2015 mosque bombing convict

By AFP - Jul 27,2023 - Last updated at Jul 27,2023

KUWAIT CITY — Kuwait put to death five people on Thursday, including a man convicted of involvement in a 2015 Daesh suicide bombing that killed 26 people, the Public Prosecution said.

The multiple executions in the Gulf emirate — relatively rare compared to neighbouring Saudi Arabia — are the first since seven people were put to death in November last year ending a five-year moratorium.

In a statement, the Public Prosecution said it oversaw the "implementation of the death sentence in Kuwait's Central Prison" against five people, most of them convicted of murder.

They included Abdulrahman Sabah Saud — the main convict in the 2015 bombing that struck a Shiite mosque in the capital during Friday prayers. It was the bloodiest attack in Kuwait's history.

Saud, a stateless Arab, was convicted of driving the bomber to the mosque and bringing the explosives belt he used from near the Saudi border.

At his initial trial, Saud pleaded guilty to most charges but, in the appeals and supreme courts, he denied them all.

The other men executed on Thursday included a Kuwaiti, an Egyptian and a member of Kuwait's stateless Bidoon minority, all of whom had been convicted of murder.

A Sri Lankan was put to death on drug charges.

The Public Prosecution said all five were executed by hanging.

Amnesty International said the move was “another example of the disturbing rise in use of the death penalty” in Kuwait.

“When it is used against non-violent offenders such as the Sri Lankan killed today, it is incompatible with international law,” Amnesty’s Kuwait researcher, Devin Kenney, told AFP.

Kuwait had initially charged 29 defendants, including seven women, with helping the Saudi mosque bomber.

In 2016, it upheld jail terms of between two and 15 years for eight people, including four women, and acquitted more than a dozen others.

Those convicted include alleged Daesh leader in Kuwait, Fahad Farraj Muhareb, whose death sentence was commuted to 15 years in prison.

Although Kuwait has executed dozens of people since it introduced the death penalty in the mid-1960s, the punishment is relatively rare.

Most of those condemned have been convicted of murder or drug trafficking.

In April 2013, Kuwaiti authorities hanged three men convicted of murder. Two months later, two Egyptians, convicted of kidnap and murder, were executed.

In 2017, the emirate carried out a mass execution of seven prisoners, including a ruling family member.

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