Kuwait protests to Lebanon over Hezb
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. —