[JURIST] An Iraqi court on Wednesday sentenced an American citizen to life in prison for funding terrorist activities in Iraq and aiding al Qaeda. Iraq's central criminal court convicted [AP report] Omar Rashad Khalil following a confession he made in which he admitted to receiving money from a Syrian man in the UAE to finance terrorist attacks. The Iraqi Ministry of the Interior [official website, in Arabic] released excerpts of Khalil's confession. Khalil, a 53-year-old architect, was arrested in 2010 [Reuters report] and charged with helping finance and execute terrorist operations in Iraq. The Ministry of the Interior indicated [Global Post report] that al Qaeda recruited Khalil in 2005 after he entered Iraq in 2001.
Iraq's criminal justice system has been the subject of controversy recently. Last month an Iraqi court sentenced former vice president Tariq al-Hashemi [JURIST news archive] to death after convicting him of three counts of murder [JURIST report]. In August a UN human rights expert condemned [JURIST report] Iraq for the executions of 26 people and urged the government of Iraq to halt all executions and ensure that all criminal defendants have fair trials.