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Iraq jails Iranian, 4 Iraqis for life for killing US citizen

By AFP - Sep 01,2023 - Last updated at Sep 01,2023

BAGHDAD — An Iraqi court on Thursday sentenced an Iranian and four Iraqis to life in prison for the murder of US civilian Stephen Troell in Baghdad last November, judicial sources said.

Baghdad’s Karkh district court “sentenced five people to life imprisonment, one of Iranian nationality and four Iraqis”, a judicial source told AFP on condition of anonymity.

The five men had “confessed” to the shooting murder and said that their intention had been to kidnap Troell for ransom, not to kill him, the source said.

A second judicial source, also speaking on condition of anonymity, confirmed the verdict.

Troell was shot dead while driving in the Iraqi capital’s Kerrada shopping district last November 7, an interior ministry source said at the time.

No Iraqi officials or security sources have been able to tell AFP why the killing took place in a city where such attacks on foreigners have been rare in recent years.

Troell had lived with his wife and children in Baghdad for at least two years. US media reported that he was a teacher of English and his social media profiles testified to his strong Christian faith.

The security situation in Iraq has improved since Baghdad declared victory over Daesh terrorist goup in 2017.

However, political violence still exists, and a campaign of killings and kidnappings took place after a large popular revolt against the government in October 2019.

No group ever admitted responsibility for these crimes, although the finger is often pointed at pro-Iran groups, and activists say no one has ever been brought to account.

In July 2020 prominent academic Hisham Al Hashemi, an internationally recognised expert in Sunni Muslim extremism, was shot dead outside his Baghdad home by men on motorcycles.

His murder sparked outrage across Iraq and was denounced by Western countries as well as the United Nations.

Hashemi had thrown his support behind the previous year’s protests against Iraq’s ruling establishment, which was seen by many as inept, corrupt and too close to Iran.

The number of small arms in Iraq was estimated in 2017 by non-government group the Small Arms Survey to be 7.6 million in a country with a population then of 39 million.


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