Lawyer: Kuwaiti Politicians agree to Testify for Death Row Colonel
Several Kuwaiti politicians and a military official have agreed to testify for a former colonel facing the gallows for heading a puppet government after Iraq's 1990 invasion, his defense lawyer said Monday.
"At least 10 influential political figures and a high ranking military official have agreed to testify in favor of my client Alaa Hussein Ali," Nawaf Sari told Kuwait's cessation court.
"I believe this will completely change the course of the trial in my client's favor," Sari told reporters outside the courtroom. He declined to name any of the personalities.
Although the cessation court's normal role is to ensure the law has been correctly implemented, Sari hopes to press for a complete revision of the trial and to call new witnesses.
Verdicts by Kuwait's highest court are final, but any death sentence upheld by the cessation court needs to be approved by the emir, Sheikh Jaber al-Ahmad al-Sabah, who has the power to commute sentences.
Ali was sentenced to death in absentia in 1993. The sentence was confirmed by the criminal court on May 3 when he was convicted of treason, collaboration with the enemy, and undermining Kuwait's security and sovereignty.
On July 9, an appeals court upheld the sentence.
During Monday's session, Ali himself made a passionate appeal to the five-judge panel headed by Kuwait's new chief justice Abdullah al-Issa to spare his life, insisting he was forced to lead the puppet government.
"I want every one of you to just imagine they were in my position on August 2, 1990. Just imagine how they threatened me with my wife and children, and then decide," Ali told the judges, referring to the invasion day.
He reiterated that senior Iraqi officials had forced him to accept the post of Prime Minister, which was created immediately after Iraq's troops invaded and occupied the oil-rich emirate.
Speaking from a metal cage, before the court was adjourned until January 29 for final arguments, Ali told reporters he had asked Kuwait's emir to pardon him the same way as the other members of his short-lived cabinet.
Charges against Ali's eight-member puppet government were dropped after their return to Kuwait in March 1991, shortly after the Gulf Arab emirate was liberated in the Gulf War.
Ali, who continued to live in Iraq until 1997, flew back to Kuwait voluntarily along with his three sons and daughter last January from Norway -- KUWAIT CITY (AFP)
© 2000 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)
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