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Kuwait Reduces Death Sentence Of 'Mastermind' Of Pro-Iran Cell

Kuwait's Supreme Court has reduced the death sentence of a man convicted of establishing a pro-Iranian cell and of plotting attacks in the Persian Gulf Arab state.

Hasan Abdulhadi Ali was sentenced to death by a lower court in 2016 after he was convicted of being the "mastermind" of a cell made up of 26 members of Kuwait's Shi'ite minority accused of links to Iran and Lebanon's Hizballah group.

The Supreme Court on June 18 sentenced Ali to life in prison.

The 26 men were arrested after Kuwaiti security forces raided a farmhouse near the capital, Kuwait City, in 2015 and found a cache of guns and explosives.

The court also sentenced 20 other members of the cell to between five and 15 years in jail and acquitted two.

The cases of the remaining three members were not taken up by the court because they remain fugitives.

The 23 defendants present at the trial have denied the charges and said that their confessions were extracted under torture.

Shi'ite-majority Iran has denied any links to the alleged cell.

Kuwait, a Sunni-majority country with a small Shi'ite minority, has accused Tehran of infiltrating local Shi'ite communities and stirring up unrest.

Based on reporting by Reuters and AFP