KUWAIT, (Reuters) – A man sentenced to 10 years in jail in absentia in Kuwait for belonging to al Qaeda has handed himself in to authorities, security sources said on Thursday.
They named the fugitive as Meshal al-Shimmari, sentenced to 10 years in jail in December for belonging to the al Qaeda-linked Peninsula Lions group which staged several bloody attacks in Kuwait last year.
Shimmari, 35, showed up at the Court of Appeals on Wednesday, the sources said. A former Kuwaiti army conscript, he is one of several stateless Arabs who were part of a group of 37 Islamists tried for belonging to Osama bin Laden’s al Qaeda in Iraq and Saudi Arabia.
The sources said Shimmari was a low-level member of the Peninsula Lions group, which Kuwaiti authorities said carried out four shootouts in January 2005 which killed nine Islamists and four members of the security forces.
Six members of the group were sentenced to death at the December trial for belonging to an “extremist” group, calling for attacks on state facilities and trying to kill Kuwaiti security forces and foreign forces in the country.
Kuwait, which hosts up to 30,000 U.S. troops, has cracked down on Islamists opposing the foreign military presence there.
Diplomats say radical Islam is taking hold among Kuwaiti youth.
Neighbouring Saudi Arabia and Iraq are also battling al Qaeda militants bent on destabilising their governments.