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Dutch-Iraqi sentenced for plot against troops

WASHINGTON — A federal judge Thursday sentenced a Dutch national to 25 years in prison for conspiring to kill Americans in Iraq.

Wesam al-Delaema, 36, the first person charged in a U.S. court with such crimes in Iraq, accepted a 25-year sentence in exchange for his guilty plea. He will serve his prison time in the Netherlands, where a Dutch judge will review his case and could reduce his sentence.

Delaema pleaded guilty in February to conspiring to kill Americans in Iraq. He admitted traveling to Iraq in 2003 to be a member of the group Mujaheddin From Fallujah. But prosecutors and defense lawyers fought for two days over whether Delaema could be considered a terrorist as defined under federal sentencing guidelines.

Delaema, who grew up in Fallujah and became a Dutch citizen in 2001, was videotaped with other insurgents planting roadside bombs designed to kill Americans.

Prosecutors conceded that they could not link the bombs on the video to any known U.S. casualties. But they noted that in the two weeks before and after the filming, eight U.S. soldiers were killed by roadside bombs in Fallujah.

Delaema returned to the Netherlands, and Dutch police raided his house and arrested him in May 2005. He was extradited to the United States on the condition that he be tried in a federal court and be sent home to serve his sentence.

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Dutch-Iraqi sentenced for plot against troops 04/16/09 [Last modified: Thursday, April 16, 2009 11:25pm]

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