KUWAIT CITY -Eight suspects accused of joining a terror group that allegedly planned to attack U.S. troops in Kuwait testified Saturday that they were forced to confess after their families were threatened with harm.
The suspects, among 22 total, all pleaded innocent when the trial opened last month. They were also accused of killing policemen in a series of deadly clashes this year in this small, oil-rich country.
In an earlier hearing, seven other the defendants had told the court that they also confessed under duress; four of them removed their shirts in the courtroom to display scars on their backs.
Hussam Youssef Abdul-Rahim, a Jordanian defendant, said state security threatened to sexually abuse his wife, who was detained in another room, if he didn”t say he knew that members of the group — who once lived in his apartment — had fought battles with police.
"I asked them to have mercy on me because I had undergone an operation on my right testicle, so they lashed me on it with a stick," he said.
The gang”s alleged ringleader, Amer al-Enezi, was captured in one of the clashes in January and died in a hospital of what the Interior Ministry said was a heart attack. Majed Mayyah al-Mutairi, one of the suspects, testified Saturday that he was brought to visit AL-Enezi and that the leader had been "cut to pieces."
Al-Mutairi, 33, said he himself was not beaten but it "was enough" for him to see the tortured ringleader to sign a false confession.
The majority of those in custody face the death sentence or life in prison if convicted.
Most of the defendants are charged with joining the Lions of Peninsula, a group "based on extremist ideology" and rebellious against state institutions.
Four policemen and eight suspected terrorists believed connected to the group were killed in clashes across the country in January. The shootouts brought terrorism to the streets of Kuwait for the first time.