Russian Taliban fighter sentenced to life in prison in U.S

Reuters News
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Posted: Dec 03, 2015 4:21 PM

By Gary Robertson

RICHMOND, Va. (Reuters) - Irek Hamidullin, a former Russian tank officer convicted of a 2009 attack on U.S. and Afghan soldiers, was sentenced in federal court on Thursday to life in prison plus 30 years.

Hamidullin, 55, was the first enemy combatant from Afghanistan to be tried in a U.S. federal court of charges related to helping Taliban fighters.

U.S. District Court Judge Henry Hudson handed down the sentence after Hamidullin, a convert to Islam, delivered a defense of his actions that lasted more than half an hour and cited Jesus Christ and Allah.

His conviction in August stemmed from a Taliban attack on an Afghan border police station in November 2009. Hamidullin was the sole Taliban insurgent to survive the attack. No Americans or Afghans were killed in the incident.

During his trial, Hamidullin declined to testify in his own defense in the precedent-setting case.

(Additional reporting by Eric Beech in Washington; Editing by Eric Walsh and Alan Crosby)