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The BBC's Caroline Hawley
"There's little sympathy for Mr Hussein among Kuwaitis"
 real 28k

Wednesday, 3 May, 2000, 07:41 GMT 08:41 UK
Death penalty for 'puppet' leader
Alaa Hussein
Alaa Hussein returned from exile of his own accord
A Kuwaiti army official has been sentenced to death for serving as prime minister of a puppet cabinet formed after Iraq invaded the Gulf nation in 1990.

A criminal court in Kuwait City has confirmed an earlier ruling that the former colonel committed treason and should be hanged.

"The court rejects the objection and confirms the earlier verdict," Judge Nayef al-Mutairat announced during a three-minute session.

Alaa Hussein, who appeared in court wearing a brown prison uniform, was taken away by guards.

Back from exile

The 41-year-old had been sentenced to death in absentia for treason in 1993, two years after US-led troops liberated Kuwait in the Gulf War.


Alaa Hussein 1990
Alaa Hussein at the time of his period in office in 1990
He had lived in exile since 1991 but returned to Kuwait of his own accord in January when he was granted a retrial to defend himself. He said he could no longer bear life in exile.

During the trial the defendant told the court, several times in tears, that Iraqis would have killed him if he defied their orders to take up the post as head a nine-member provisional government.

He said he had only acted under extreme pressure.



The Iraqi regime threatened to take away my family and to kill me if I did not perform the duties they told me to

Alaa Hussein speaking during the trial
The interim government was dissolved in less than a week. None of the other eight were charged.

The puppet ministers asked Iraqi President Saddam Hussein to allow them to return to Kuwait after liberation and he permitted that. But Alaa Hussein did not go back with them, raising suspicions about his allegiance.

Until January he had been living in Norway, where he had gone after being smuggled out of Iraq in 1998 and where his second wife remains. His four children returned to Kuwait with him.

Alaa Hussein can appeal against the verdict.

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20 Feb 00 | Middle East
Kuwait 'puppet' leader on trial
12 Nov 97 | ROAD TO THE BRINK
Iraq - a history of conflict
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