For three months, she was beaten, tortured, raped and finally sentenced to die by the Iraqis. But the 33-year-old Kuwaiti woman resistance fighter never gave her captors the information they sought.

Now, she is working to help rebuild her country.In a room at her home lit by tiny candles, the woman was still defiant as she told the story of her life-and-death struggle.

She asked that her name not be used - only her initials, M.M. - because she believes some Iraqis or collaborators still in Kuwait want to kill her.

"I'm not scared for myself, I'm scared for my children," she said.

In resistance circles, M.M. has become something of a legend. Air Force Col. Ali Al-Fodari, a resistance leader in Kuwait City, commended her courage and fortitude.

When the Iraqis invaded Kuwait on Aug. 2, M.M., a successful busineswoman and a mother of four, said she felt she had to do something to fight back. Friends introduced her to the resistance.

"I asked if I could join," she said. "They asked, are you strong enough to see bodies? . . . I witnessed two Iraqi soldiers being killed."

After M.M. was accepted as a member on Aug. 20, she served as a link to five different resistance groups.

She passed on coded messages. She hid weapons in her house, cleaned them and smuggled them to the various groups. She distributed money and false identification and helped provide medical care for injured resistance members.

On Oct. 20, she was assigned to deliver 1 million Iraqi dinars - $300,000 at the black-market rate - and 20 false identification papers.

She telephoned the resistance man to whom she was supposed to make the delivery. The man who answered had an Iraqi accent "but I thought it was a member of the group teasing me," she said.

Unfortunately, it was no joke. M.M. and the resistance man were arrested.

From the beginning, M.M. said, she vowed not to disclose the identity of any member of the resistance.

"They started threatening me. They asked, `Do you know who we are?' I said `I know who you are. You're like the guys in `The Godfather,"' she said.

The Iraqis beat her. She was stripped nude and given electric shocks with battery-like jumpers that were clipped to her body.

At one point, a resistance member she knew - who had been caught planting an explosive on an Iraqi car - was brought before her and tortured.

"They put kerosene on his fingers and lit a match. They pulled the nails on his toes. They used electric rods," she said. "There was blood all over his body. They said, `If you don't talk, this is nothing compared to what we can do to you.' "

A resistance member who was a friend of her brother's was brought before her. She claimed she did not know him - and because nobody identified him, he was eventually released.

"When he got out, he told my brother, `She can do what 10 men can do,"' M.M. said.

Not everyone in the resistance could withstand the pressure. Another resistance fighter, under Iraqi torture, identified her as a member. On evidence of that - and the money and identification she was caught with - she was sentenced to die on Jan. 13.

But on Jan. 15, she said, an Iraqi captain who had raped and tortured her told her he had "good feelings" for her. He said he was going to release her.

"I think he had the idea that if I was released, he could control me," she said.

When soldiers drove her to her house, she thought she was going to be executed on the doorstep, like so many other Kuwaitis. But the soldiers left - after a three-day drinking and looting binge at her home.

M.M. was reunited with her children, who were cared for by her family while she was imprisoned.

She has been hospitalized twice for internal bleeding from her injuries, but she has no regrets.

"I am still working with the resistance. It is still working in support of the police and army to bring the country back to normal," she said.

Didn't she worry about risking her own life?

"I was thinking about my country more than I thought about myself," she said.