Kuwait appeals court upholds acquittal of accused al-Qaeda militants

A Kuwaiti appeals court on Oct. 28 upheld the acquittal of eight men accused of attempting to form an al-Qaeda cell and planning to attack a US base 70 miles south of Kuwait City. The men were tried and acquitted by a lower court in May, with two of the men, Mohsen al-Fadhli and Mohammad al-Dossari, being acquitted in absentia. Al-Fadhli has been wanted by Kuwaiti security forces for the past five years, and al-Dossari is standing trial in Lebanon on charges of terrorism. Five of the remaining defendants were released from custody following the original acquittals, while the sixth defendant is currently serving a life sentence on unrelated terror charges. The court of appeals also upheld the lower court's ruling that the men had been tortured by the Kuwaiti security service. Adel Abdulhadi, a lawyer for the acquitted men, said that the defense team was considering suing the interior ministry for the alleged torture. The prosecution still has the option of appealing the acquittals to Kuwait's highest court, although they have not yet indicated whether they will do so.

From Jurist, Oct. 28. Used with permission.