Kuwait court frees 11 suspects in Shia mosque attack

Kuwait court frees 11 suspects in Shia mosque attack
2 min read
06 August, 2015
A Kuwaiti court freed 11 of the defendants in the trial of 29 suspects charged with involvement in the suicide attack that targeted a Shia mosque in Kuwait City.
A Kuwaiti special forces vehicle is parked outside the constitutional court in Kuwait City [Getty]

A Kuwaiti court trying 29 suspects in a deadly bomb attack on a Shia mosque freed 11 defendants Thursday, while the main accused said he had been told worshippers would not be harmed.

A travel ban, however, remains in place on the freed defendants, including two women.

Of the 29 initial suspects, five have gone on trial in absentia.

Abdulrahman Sabah Saud, the main suspect, renewed his confession at the second hearing that he transported the Saudi suicide bomber to the Kuwait City mosque attacked in June.

But Saud insisted he was told by the suicide bomber, Fahad al-Qaba'a, he would only blow up the mosque after it was emptied of worshippers.

The prosecutor played footage taken by security cameras showing Saud driving the car with the bomber seated next to him, before he dropped him off and left.

Saud, a stateless Arab, said the footage was genuine and recognised the bomber in the video.

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The court set August 10 for the next hearing in the trial over the June 26 bombing that killed 26 people and wounded hundreds of others.

On Tuesday, Saud told the court he was a member of the Islamic State extremist group that claimed responsibility for the attack, the worst in the history of the oil-rich Gulf state.

Although the public prosecution has not released the official charge sheets, a number of defendants stand accused of belonging to a banned group and taking part in the bombing.

Saud also confessed to having transported the explosive belt from near the border with Saudi Arabia where two Saudi brothers, currently held in the kingdom, had left it.

Seven Kuwaitis, five Saudis, three Pakistanis, 13 stateless Arabs known as bidoon and another unnamed person at large were charged with involvement in the attack.

An IS-affiliated group calling itself Najd Province claimed the Kuwait City bombing as well as suicide attacks at two Shiite mosques in Saudi Arabia in May.

The Sunni extremist IS considers Shias, minorities in both Gulf states, to be heretics and has targeted them across the region.