US man who spied for Iraq gets nearly 4 years | world | Hindustan Times
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US man who spied for Iraq gets nearly 4 years

world Updated: Jun 10, 2009 11:08 IST

A man described by the old regime of Saddam Hussein as "our good cooperating source" was sentenced to nearly four years in prison today for supplying information to Iraq before the US-led invasion in 2003.

US District Judge Nancy Edmunds rejected Najib Shemami's claim that he acted under duress from Saddam's government.

There is no dispute that he told Iraqi authorities about the activities of expatriates in the United States. He also reported on US military movements in Turkey before the invasion, describing the location of 200 tanks as well as tents for refugees.

Shemami, 62, of Sterling Heights was a frequent traveler from 1996 through 2002, smuggling money, medicine and clothing into Iraq.

The judge agreed with prosecutors who said being an informant was his "cost of doing business."

"I apologise to the court," said Shemami, an Iraqi native who moved to the United States in 1970 and owned a liquor store.

"I swear to God I didn't mean no harm. I was scared. ... I was so scared."

But that didn't make sense to Edmunds, who ordered a 46-month prison sentence.

Shemami continued to meet with the Iraqi Intelligence Service in 2002 even after being interviewed by the FBI.