Fifteen convicted Shiite Muslim militants whose fate is linked to that of American and other Western hostages in Lebanon have been moved to Baghdad from a Kuwaiti jail, a Kuwaiti diplomat said Sunday.
The men were convicted of taking part in a 1983 bombing campaign against the Kuwaiti government ousted last week by invading Iraqi forces.
Their freedom has long been a key demand of hostage-takers including Islamic Jihad, which has held at least two Americans for more than five years.
They are Terry A. Anderson, the chief Middle East correspondent of the Associated Press, and Thomas Sutherland, acting dean of agriculture at the American University of Beirut.
Anderson was seized in March 1985, Sutherland three months later.
Kuwait’s charge d’affaires in Amman, Faisal Mukhaizem, said that the 15 prisoners were taken to Baghdad on Friday.
“They (the Iraqis) are going to use them as bargaining counters,” Mukhaizem said.