Iraq sentences U.S. citizen to life in prison

Reuters News
Posted: Oct 04, 2012 10:51 AM
Iraq sentences U.S. citizen to life in prison

BAGHDAD (Reuters) - A U.S. citizen convicted of links with al Qaeda has been sentenced to life in prison by an Iraqi court, a copy of the ruling showed on Thursday.

Omar Rashad Khalil, who is of Palestinian origin, was arrested in 2010 and accused of helping finance and execute "terrorist operations" inside Iraq, according to the ruling, a copy of which was posted on the Interior Ministry website.

The ruling said Khalil, in his early 50s, was an architect and also went by the name Abu Muhammad. He was sentenced by Baghdad's central criminal court on Wednesday.

Government officials could not immediately be reached for comment.

Iraq is home to several Sunni insurgent groups including a local branch of al Qaeda, the Islamic State of Iraq, which continues to launch frequent attacks across the country following the withdrawal of U.S. troops last December.

Islamists, most of them from other Arab countries, flocked to Iraq after the U.S.-led invasion in 2003 to fight the foreign military presence.

(Reporting by Raheem Salman; Writing by Isabel Coles; Editing by Alison Williams)