Kuwait prosecutors seek death sentences for 11 suspects over mosque bombing

Those charged are seven Kuwaitis, five Saudis, three Pakistanis, 13 bidoons, and another person at large whose identity is unknown, the prosecution said Tuesday.

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KUWAIT CITY // Kuwait’s public prosecution has demanded the death penalty for 11 of 29 suspects charged over last month’s suicide bombing of a Shiite mosque, a newspaper reported on Wednesday.

Two of the suspects are currently fighting with ISIL which claimed the attack, Al Qabas said, adding that a source said that "the public prosecutor demanded the execution by hanging for 11 defendants".

The June 26 bombing, carried out by a Saudi, was the bloodiest in Kuwait's history, killing 26 people and wounding more than 200 others.

The 29 suspects facing trial include seven Kuwaitis, five Saudis, three Pakistanis, 13 “illegal residents” – a reference to Kuwait’s “bidoon” community that is made up largely of desert nomads considered stateless by the government. Another person whose identity is not known is still at large, the prosecution said on Tuesday.

The suspects face a range of charges such as illegally possessing explosives, incitement to violence and joining an extremist group.

Twenty-four of them have been detained in Kuwait while the other five will be tried in absentia, including two Saudi brothers who allegedly transported the explosives and are being held in Saudi Arabia.

Kuwaiti officials have identified the suicide bomber in the attack as Fahd Suleiman Abdulmohsen Al Qaba’a, a Saudi man in his early twenties who landed in the country just hours before the attack.

Al Qabas said some of the suspects were also charged with joining a terrorist organisation fighting against the state.

Two of the suspects have been charged with premeditated murder and attempted murder.

Two others were charged with training in the use of explosives, nine with assisting in the crime and the rest with knowing of the attack without informing the authorities.

An ISIL-affiliated group calling itself Najd Province claimed the bombing and also said it carried out suicide attacks on two Shiite mosques in Saudi Arabia in May.

On Monday, the Kuwait government decided to set up a permanent committee to fight terrorism and extremism.

At its weekly meeting, the cabinet “decided to form a permanent committee to coordinate between various bodies to ensure security and fight against all forms of terrorism ... and extremism,” the cabinet said.

The statement also said the new committee will work to drain sources of “terror” funding and intensify awareness programmes.

The interior minister said this month the country was at war with hardline militants and officials have said the bombing was aimed at stoking sectarian strife in the majority Sunni state, where the two sects have traditionally coexisted in peace.

* Agence France-Presse and Reuters