Kuwait frees 'anti-US activists'

A Kuwaiti judge has freed on bail two men suspected of links to a group of Islamist activists charged with recruiting anti-US fighters for Iraq, their lawyer has said.

    About 25,000 US troops are stationed in the Gulf state

    Judge Abd Al-Nasir Khuraibit on Saturday ordered the release of Shallal al-Dhafiri, a Saudi, and Ahmad al-Utaibi, a Kuwaiti, on bail of 300 dinars ($1000) each because there was "no need to keep them in jail", Abd Al-Rahman al-Rashidi said on Sunday. 

    Both men were accused of illegal possession of arms, plotting to carry out attacks against US forces and joining a "terrorist organisation", he said. 

    But the pair "categorically denied the charges and insisted their preliminary confessions were made under duress after physical torture and threats by state security personnel", al-Rashidi added. 

    So far, five suspects in the case have been freed on bail, while the same judge last week remanded 10 others in custody for 14 days. He is expected to hear their bail applications next week. 

    Encouraging fighters

    The suspects, who include three teenagers and an adult extradited from Syria last month, are among a group of 20 Islamist activists suspected of encouraging Kuwaitis to travel to Iraq to fight US-led occupation troops. 

    The authorities are also pursuing four men who include the spokesman for the Association of Victims of Torture and Arbitrary Arrest, Khalid al-Dousari. 

    The suspects' lawyers have alleged that Kuwait's recent crackdown stems from US pressure on the emirate, a key Gulf ally which served as the main launch pad for last year's US-led invasion of Iraq. 

    SOURCE: AFP


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