Kuwait court upholds life sentences in Iran spy ring case

May 9, 2013

The cassation court in Kuwait on Monday upheld a life sentence against four people for their role in a pro-Iran espionage network.

The court also agreed to free the other three members of the ring.

The four were originally sentenced to death by a lower court, but the court of appeals had converted the decision to life in prison for the four defendants. The appeals court also ordered the release of the other three.

However, the public prosecutor had called for a tougher sentence against the seven members of the cell, four Iranians, one Kuwaiti, one Syrian and one Dominican. The cassation court, the country’s highest court, kept the verdict by the appeals court.

The Kuwaiti national, who was not named, is among the four men sentenced to life in prison.

The cell members were put on trial on charges of spying for a foreign country – Iran, assisting and working for the intelligence service of a foreign country, taking financial rewards for the information they provided and illegally taking photos of military sites.

The defendants, throughout the trial, denied the charges and insisted they had been tortured to extract confessions.

Kuwaiti authorities reportedly busted the spy ring in May 2010, but Iran strongly rejected the charges.

Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad denied the existence of a spy network in Kuwait and said that there was nothing to spy on in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) country.

However, Kuwait’s foreign minister insisted that the spy ring working for Iran was real. Several Kuwaiti MPs, angered by Tehran’s reactions, have called for severing diplomatic ties.

A decision by Kuwait’s criminal court to put two Iranian suspects to death for their alleged role in the espionage network in April 2011 sparked a war of words in the media with both capitals expelling diplomats in the ensuing row.

GCC countries have been concerned about what they see as Iranian interference in their domestic affairs, particularly after Tehran criticised Manama and Riyadh for the deployment of units from the Peninsula Shield, the GCC military arm, in Bahrain in March 2011 following four weeks of dramatic events in the island kingdom.




About the author

Born August 3, 1960 in Monastir, Tunisia
Media career:
  • ABC News (Tunisia)
  • Bahrain Tribune
  • Gulf News
  • Bahrain Television News
Teaching career:
  • Monastir (Tunisia)
  • University of Bahrain
  • MA  Mass Communications, University of Leicester
  • BA  in English & US literature and studies, University of Tunis

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