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Kuwaiti Court Upholds Death Sentence Of Alleged Spy For Iran

A Kuwaiti appeals court on July 21 upheld the death sentence of a man convicted of spying for Iran as part of a cell that was allegedly working with Tehran to destabilize the Gulf Arab state.

Iran has denied any links to the alleged cell. Kuwait and some other Gulf Arab countries, mostly ruled by Sunnis, have long accused Tehran of seeking to weaken them by infiltrating local Shi'ite communities and stirring up local politics.

Kuwait said the so-called "Abdali cell" was uncovered when security forces raided a farmhouse in Abdali outside Kuwait City last year and found a vast cache of guns and explosives.

Kuwait charged 25 Kuwaitis -- all of them Shi'ites -- and an Iranian with spying for Iran. Of those charged, 23 were found guilty of various crimes including intent to carry out "hostile acts" against Kuwait.

Hassan Abdul Hadi Hajiya, the cell's alleged mastermind and a Hizbullah member, was sentenced to death along with the Iranian citizen charged in absentia.

Citing his "fugitive" status, the court did not rule on the Iranian defendant.

The court also ruled as "not guilty" 10 defendants who had originally received 15-year prison terms and reduced the sentences of nine others.

Based on reporting by Reuters and AFP