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.

    Kuwait was the main launchpad for the 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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