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Kuwait court sentences police to death over torture

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

Kuwait's supreme court on Monday sentenced to death two police officers convicted of torturing a citizen to death, overturning terms of life imprisonment issued by lower courts.

The court jailed four other officers for 15 years each and a fifth for two years, and also ordered their dismissal from the police force, according to a written verdict.

Two other policemen were each fined 75 dinars ($260), while the remaining 11 defendants were acquitted, including two foreigners who worked at the police station.

The verdicts, which are unprecedented against policemen in Kuwait, are final but can be commuted by Kuwait's ruler, Emir Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad al-Sabah. Executions in the Gulf state are carried by hanging.

All 20 defendants were charged with torturing four detainees in January 2011. One of the victims, 35-year-old Mohammad Ghazzai al-Mutairi, died of his injuries.

The four were tortured at a location in the desert and later at a police station, where they were accused of merchandising alcohol -- a charge that was proven false.

The incident caused shock in Kuwait and led to the resignation of former interior minister Sheikh Jaber Khaled al-Sabah, a member of the ruling family.

A parliamentary investigation panel at the time found that Mutairi had apparently been subjected to severe torture for six days, including three days in a remote desert location.

Amnesty International said last week that more than 44 people were reported to be on death row in Kuwait.

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http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/afp/130617/kuwait-court-sentences-police-death-over-torture