An appeals court on Tuesday commuted to life in prison a death sentence that had been imposed on a former Kuwaiti army colonel for treason after Iraq invaded in 1990 to life imprisonment.
Kuwaiti Chief Justice Abdullah al-Issa had to provide an explanation of the sentence outside the cassation court to defense lawyers and reporters alike, who had all understood that the death sentence on Alaa Hussein Ali had been upheld.
"The court accepts the petition for the appeal and decides to change the death sentence to a life term," Issa told them, after earlier reading the verdict in the courtroom.
Defense lawyer Nawaf Sari said: "We have wrongly understood the verdict when the judge read it."
The judge said that, "despite the seriousness of the crime he has committed against his country, in view of his good manners and his age as well as his decision to return to his country from refuge in Norway voluntarily ... the court invokes article 83 of the penal code and decides to commute the death sentence to a life term."
Ali was first sentenced to death in absentia in 1993.
Last May, a criminal court confirmed the death sentence against Ali for treason, collaboration with the enemy and undermining Kuwait's security and sovereignty. An appeals court upheld the sentence in July -- KUWAIT CITY (AFP)
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