Olympic powerbroker has Kuwaiti court conviction thrown out

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KUWAIT CITY (AP) A Kuwaiti sheikh who is a major powerbroker in the Olympics and world soccer has been acquitted by an appeals court of violating a gag order in a case about an alleged coup, his lawyer said Tuesday.

Sheikh Ahmad Al-Fahad Al-Sabah had his six-month prison sentence overturned on Monday, lawyer Ali al-Rasheedi told The Associated Press.

Sheikh Ahmad, who is a member of Kuwait's royal family, is an influential member of the International Olympic Committee. He heads the Olympic Council of Asia and the Association of National Olympic Committees and serves on FIFA's executive committee.

The sheikh was sentenced in December after being convicted of disobeying a gag order by discussing a video involving a purported plot to overthrow the government. He previously apologized on state television, saying he was ''misinformed'' about the plot.

The sentencing came with Kuwait under suspension by the IOC and FIFA for political interference in sports.

The IOC suspended Kuwait's Olympic committee in October. The suspension could keep Kuwaiti athletes from representing their country at this year's Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.

The Kuwaiti government recently filed a $1.3 billion suit against 14 board members of the Gulf state's Olympic committee, including Sheikh Ahmad.

The government also filed suit against the national federations of swimming, volleyball, basketball and soccer, and took action against leaders of the national boxing and weightlifting bodies.

The Olympic dispute also centers on the personal rivalry between Sheikh Ahmad and Kuwait's sports minister, Sheikh Salman Al-Sabah. The feud revolves around Sheikh Salman's unsuccessful run in 2014 for the presidency of the international shooting federation.