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Jordan Seeks Action on Kuwaiti Trials

JORDAN appealed yesterday for immediate international intervention to save Jordanians sentenced to death by a Kuwaiti court for allegedly collaborating with Iraq's occupation Army. It sought also to halt further trials. Jordan sent letters to the United States, Britain, France, the United Nations, the Arab League, the Vatican, the International Red Cross and Amnesty International saying the sentences were out of proportion to the charges, Foreign Ministry Secretary-General Mutassem Bilbeissi said.

"The Jordanian government asks for intervention without delay to save the Jordanian nationals...." Mr. Bilbeissi said, quoting letters sent Sunday. "We call for a fair and just conduct of the cases after ensuring that the legal rights of the accused are respected in line with international norms and practices."

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At least four of the 12 people sentenced to death so far by Kuwait's martial-law court are Jordanians. Many of the more than 200 people held on charges of collaborating are Jordanians of Palestinian descent.

The US, which led the six-week Gulf war that drove Iraqi troops out of Kuwait in February, has expressed concern about the conduct of the trials and allegations that confessions were extracted by torture.

Human rights groups have condemned the trials for a failure to provide due process. In some cases, defense lawyers had no access to their clients.

The verdicts cannot be appealed, but because of international criticism, a review panel has been created that could recommend royal clemency.

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