Iraqi-born insurgent jailed for 25 years by US court
A US federal judge Thursday sentenced an Iraqi-born Dutch citizen to 25 years in prison for conspiring to kill Americans in Iraq in the first case of its kind, the US Justice Department said.world Updated: Apr 17, 2009 22:12 IST
A US federal judge Thursday sentenced an Iraqi-born Dutch citizen to 25 years in prison for conspiring to kill Americans in Iraq in the first case of its kind, the US Justice Department said.
Wesam al-Delaema, who made demonstration videos on how to make roadside bombs to kill US soldiers in Fallujah, Iraq, pleaded guilty to the charge on February 25. The videos were shown in court for the first time this week.
The US District Court for the District of Columbia in Washington found that the offense was "a federal crime of terrorism," the Justice Department said in a statement.
Delaema is the first Iraq war insurgent to be prosecuted in a US court. He was arrested in the Netherlands upon his return from Iraq in 2005 and extradited to the United States in January 2007.
"This case represents the first use of US criminal courts to prosecute an individual for terrorism offenses against Americans in Iraq," said David Kris, assistant attorney general for national security.
"The sentence imposed today should serve notice that the United States will use all available tools to pursue those who would plot attacks against our men and women serving in Iraq."
In a separate case, Delaema was sentenced to 18 months detention for aggravated assault.
Delaema, 36, pleaded guilty to that charge on March 3 and admitted he had kicked a prison guard unconsciousness. The guard sustained severe injuries from the 2007 incident.
Delaema will serve his sentences concurrently in the Netherlands as part of an overall plea deal in an agreement between the United States and the Netherlands.
The videos showed Delaema and his fellow co-conspirators, the "Mujahideen from Fallujah," stating their intentions to kill Americans in Iraq using improvised explosive devices (IEDs), according to the Justice Department.
In one video, Delaema, who traveled to Fallujah in 2003, shows off a site where the group hid bombs and how to set off roadside explosions.
"We have executed several operations and most of them were successful. The American Army wouldn't admit to casualties," he said. "Their casualties have gone beyond our imagination."
Even after his return to the Netherlands, Delaema continued to obtain videos for individuals seeking to kill Americans in Iraq, including raw footage of attacks, the department said.