5 Iraqis, 1 Kuwaiti Sentenced to Death for Plot to Kill Bush

From Associated Press

Five Iraqis and a Kuwaiti were sentenced to death Saturday for a foiled attempt to assassinate former President George Bush in April, 1993. Discovery of the plot led President Clinton to order a retaliatory missile attack on Baghdad.

Six other Iraqis and a Kuwaiti were given prison terms ranging from six months to 12 years for their involvement in the plot, which was uncovered the day before Bush arrived to be honored for his leadership in liberating Kuwait from Iraq in the Persian Gulf War.

One defendant was acquitted.

Death sentences in Kuwait automatically go to an appeals court for review, a process that could take months. Capital punishment in Kuwait is carried out by hanging.

Kuwaiti security authorities discovered a car packed with 175 pounds of explosives a day before Bush arrived in Kuwait.

Prosecutors said the car was to be used to blow up the former President, who forged the U.S.-led coalition that drove Iraqi forces out of Kuwait in February, 1991, nearly seven months after they invaded the Gulf emirate.

Prosecutors charged that most of the defendants were Iraqi intelligence agents sent by Saddam Hussein's regime to kill Bush. Iraq denied masterminding the plot and vowed revenge against Kuwait for accusing it of such treachery.

Iraq said Bush was "not worth several kilograms of explosives."

Judge Salah Fahad, the court president, called the defendants "a bunch of evil men sent by Iraq to wreak havoc."

"As if what Iraqi intelligence did to Kuwait during the occupation was not enough, they have sent us this gang with their Kuwaiti partner to continue their shameful deeds inside Kuwait and terrorize the Kuwaiti people," he said.

The defendants listened in silence as the judge delivered the sentences. When he finished, one of the Iraqi defendants, Raad Asadi, leaped to his feet and shouted: "There is no justice."

Pandemonium erupted in the heavily guarded courtroom when Jabbar Kanaani, a 56-year-old Iraqi defendant, punched Asadi in the face. Asadi was the purported ringleader.

Only one of the 14 defendants, 36-year-old Wali Gazali, pleaded guilty.

He told the three-judge panel that Iraqi agents gave him a car packed with explosives and ordered him to blow it up at Kuwait University, where it was believed Bush was to be honored during his April 14-16 visit.

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