Member of ruling Kuwait family condemned

Updated: 2007-01-16 09:07

KUWAIT CITY - A court has convicted a member of Kuwait's ruling family for drug trafficking and it condemned him to death, according to a ruling obtained Monday.

It is believed to be the first time that a member of a ruling family in one of the Gulf Arab states received the death sentence for a drug offense.

The crimes of Sheik Talal Nasser Al Sabah "threatened society ... especially young people," who bought hashish and cocaine from him, Judge Humoud al-Mutawah said in his verdict Sunday.

Sheik Talal had "willingly walked the path of evil" and "deserved no mercy," al-Mutawah said.

It was not immediately clear how closely related Sheik Talal is to the head of the ruling family, which has hundreds of members.

Prominent criminal lawyer Najib al-Wugayyan hailed the verdict and sentence. "This is a magnificent indication to all that nobody is above the law," he said.

The judgment can be appealed.

The panel of three judges also found Sheik Talal guilty of laundering the money he made from trafficking, and illegal possession of two pistols and a shotgun.

The court said hashish and cocaine were found at his home, along with scales and a mixer used to prepare the drugs for sale.

In addition to the death sentence, the court fined Sheik Talal $35,000 for drug trafficking.

For illegal possession of firearms, the court sentenced him to three years in jail. And for laundering about $3 million from the trafficking, the court sentenced him to seven years' imprisonment and ordered him to pay an identical sum as a fine.

The laundering was done by investing the money in real estate in Lebanon and the United Arab Emirates.

Sheik Talal's lawyer could not be reached for comment.

The court convicted three of Sheik Talal's associates - Faisal al-Enezi, Amirulislam Ali and Abdullah Shignab - of drug trafficking and sentenced them to life imprisonment.

Two other associates - Tazhi Hamed and Fadi Habash - were sentenced to seven years in jail each for money-laundering. The court also ordered them each to pay $3 million in fines - the same amount as imposed on Sheik Talal.

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