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Jordanian Sentenced to 15 Years for Possessing Explosives

June 10, 1991

KUWAIT CITY (AP) _ A martial law court on Monday sentenced a 57-year-old Jordanian air conditioning technician to 15 years in prison for possessing explosives.

The court ordered Hossni Mahmoud Hassan deported after he completes the prison term.

Hassan, who had worked in Kuwait since 1957, was caught at a checkpoint after Kuwait was recaptured from Iraq on Feb. 26, security official said. They said he was transporting explosives in a bag on the front seat of his car.

The only witness against Hassan was asked to appear in court 10 times, but did not show up, said defense attorney Najeeb al-Wuqayan.

″Everybody in the courtroom thought the man was going to be acquitted,″ the attorney said. ″Even the guards told me they would let him go themselves if the judges sentenced him.″

Martial court verdicts cannot be appealed, but al-Wuqayan said he hoped a special committee headed by the crown prince would review the sentence.

″I guess the state of boiling feelings that followed liberation is still there,″ the attorney said.

Hundreds of defendants, mostly Iraqis and Palestinians, have been arrested and accused of collaborating with the Iraqis during the seven-month occupation of Kuwait.

Human rights organizations have criticized Kuwaiti authorities because the defendants are not being given the chance to confront their accusers in court.

Also Monday, martial law courts sentenced an Iraqi woman, Fatima Awaz, to five years in prison for aiding the enemy. A stateless man, Issa Sajed, was sentenced to a two-year term for possessing unlicensed weapons.

Two Jordanians, Bassel Abdul Jabbar and Yossef Ali, were acquitted of collaboration.

In Washington, Sen. Richard Lugar, R-Ind., a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, appealed to Kuwait’s ambassador to support an American TV organization’s request to videotape the coming trial of 22 Kuwaiti journalists.

Lugar said in a letter to Ambassador Shaikh Saud Nasir Al-Sabah that the government should allow Court TV to videotape the proceedings. That would demonstrate the fairness and openness of the trials to the world, Lugar said.

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