KUWAIT CITY, 1 June 2004 — Two Saudi nationals and a Kuwaiti convicted of the gruesome abduction, rape and murder of a six-year-old girl were executed in Kuwait yesterday, and their corpses displayed in public.
The three men were hanged in front of the Interior Ministry at Nayef Palace in Kuwait City before hundreds of spectators. Dozens of the girl's relatives were allowed to view the limp bodies.
"Some 3,000 people were at Nayef Palace," said Interior Ministry spokesman Lt. Col. Adel Al-Hashshash. "The crime was a big story in the media, and an ugly one that touched people's hearts."
Female relatives of the girl, Amna Al-Khaledi celebrated the hanging after they were allowed inside. Marzook Saad Suleiman Al-Saeed, 25, Saeed Saad Suleiman Al-Saeed, 28, and 24-year-old Kuwaiti Hamad Mubarak Turki Al-Dihani were convicted through three Kuwaiti courts, and the death sentence endorsed by the emir, Sheikh Jaber Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah.
A third Saudi, Latifa Mandil Suleiman Al-Saeed, a 21-year-old female cousin of the convicted brothers, was sentenced to life in prison for taking part in the abduction.
The victim was kidnapped from her home on May 1, 2002 and driven to a remote desert area, where she was raped by the men and then stabbed five times in the chest before her throat was slit.
Court testimony disclosed that the men murdered the child in a so-called "honor killing" to avenge an illegal relationship between the victim's brother, and Al-Saeed's sister.
The child's elder brother, Adel Al-Khaledi, was sentenced to five years in prison for having an illicit sexual relationship with the woman.
Soon after the trio were arrested, some three weeks after the child's body was found, several local newspapers reported the crime as an "honor killing".
Honor killings are committed to avenge a perceived affront to a family's honor, such as an out-of-wedlock relationship or a female relative marrying without her parents' consent.
Kuwait's public prosecutor Hamed Al-Othman, top police and judicial officials attended the hanging. Yesterday's execution was the fourth case of hanging in which the public was allowed to view the bodies since 2002, when three Bangladeshi men, convicted of murder, were hanged.
Kuwait has executed at least 27 people since the 1991 Gulf War, and 51, including three women, since the first execution was carried out in the emirate four decades ago, the majority of them for murder and drug trafficking.