Kuwait protests to Le­banon over Hezb

Kuwait Times - - FRONT PAGE -

KUWAIT: Kuwait has protested to Le­banon over the al­leged train­ing by Hezbol­lah of 21 mem­bers of the so­called “Ab­dally cell” con­victed last month on charges of form­ing a “ter­ror cell” in the state. It de­manded that pres­sure be put on the group, which has min­is­ters in the Le­banese gov­ern­ment, to en­sure there was no rep­e­ti­tion. The protest fol­lows Kuwait’s ex­pul­sion of 15 Ira­nian diplo­mats on Thurs­day over Tehran’s al­leged links to those con­victed.

The let­ter de­liv­ered by Kuwait’s am­bas­sador in Beirut late on Fri­day said the state’s cas­sa­tion court had found that “Hezbol­lah took part in con­tacts, co­or­di­nat­ing meet­ings, paid funds and pro­vided arms and mil­i­tary train­ing in Le­banon” for the de­fen­dants. It called on Le­banon to take “the nec­es­sary mea­sures to curb these dis­grace­ful prac­tices” by Hezbol­lah as it is a part­ner in the gov­ern­ment, am­bas­sador Ab­du­laal Al-Que­nai told the of­fi­cial KUNA news agency. He stressed Kuwait’s keen­ness on main­tain­ing and pro­mot­ing dis­tin­guished broth­erly re­la­tions with Le­banon.

Kuwaiti au­thor­i­ties busted the “Ab­daly cell” with ties to Iran in Aug 2015 and seized large quan­ti­ties of arms, am­mu­ni­tion and ex­plo­sives. Cell mem­bers were con­victed of working for Iran’s Revo­lu­tion­ary Guards and Hezbol­lah. They were also con­victed of smug­gling ex­plo­sives from Iran. The only Ira­nian mem­ber of the cell was sen­tenced to death in ab­sen­tia by the lower court early last year.

Kuwait on Tues­day said 14 con­victs were on the run while a lo­cal news­pa­per said they had fled to Iran by sea. The cell was con­victed by a lower court early last year but ac­quit­ted on ap­peal months later and set free. The supreme court, whose rul­ings are fi­nal, over­turned their ac­quit­tal on June 18 and sen­tenced them to be­tween five and 15 years in prison. Un­like neigh­bor­ing pow­er­house Saudi Ara­bia, Kuwait main­tains diplo­matic re­la­tions with Iran. But sec­tar­ian is­sues re­main sen­si­tive. Shi­ites make up around one third of Kuwait’s pop­u­la­tion. —

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