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Kuwaiti anti-war cleric sentenced
A Kuwaiti court has upheld a two-year suspended jail sentence of a leading religious scholar who publicly opposed the emirate's support for last year's US-led invasion of Iraq.
Last Modified: 28 Nov 2004 16:55 GMT
Kuwait was the main launchpad for the US-led invasion of Iraq
A Kuwaiti court has upheld a two-year suspended jail sentence of a leading religious scholar who publicly opposed the emirate's support for last year's US-led invasion of Iraq.

A judge confirmed the verdict against Hamid al-Ali on Sunday, according to his lawyer Usama al-Munawar.

"He rejected the appeal launched by the public prosecution which called for jailing my client," the lawyer added.

Al-Ali is the former secretary-general of the Salaf Movement and was originally sentenced on 19 June.

The appeals court supported another court order that al-Ali pay $3400 and maintain good conduct for two years after being accused of challenging the amir's constitutional rights, al-Munawar said.

It also backed a ruling that found al-Ali guilty of defaming Arab leaders by calling them "traitors" and "failures", and also of "insulting the [Kuwaiti] state's reputation".

Religious edict

Ali was additionally charged with calling for demonstrations and meetings without obtaining a licence. 

Amir Jabir al-Ahmad al-Sabah
(C) is a staunch ally of the US

The charges were based on Ali's fatwa, or religious edict, which stated that "any backing by a Muslim country of foreign troops in attacking another Muslim state contravenes Islamic teachings".

The verdict is final unless the public prosecution appeals to the supreme court.

Several Islamic activists are still on trial on charges of carrying out attacks against US forces in Kuwait or for allegedly being associated with Usama bin Ladin's al-Qaida network.

Kuwait, which was invaded by Saddam's army in August 1990 and occupied for seven months, served as the main launchpad for last year's US-led war.

The invasion was overwhelmingly opposed by Muslim countries all over the world.

Source:
Agencies
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