First Iraqi insurgent tried in US federal court pleads guilty

Iraqi-born Dutch citizen Wesam al-Delaema pleaded guilty Feb. 26 in the US District Court for the District of Columbia to a charge of conspiracy to murder US nationals outside the United States. Al Delaema is the first alleged insurgent in the Iraq war to be tried in US federal court. As part of the plea arrangement al-Deleama admitted planting roadside bombs in the Iraq city of Fallujah and demonstrating on video how he planned to detonate those bombs to kill Americans. The agreement calls for a 25-year sentence to be served in the Netherlands, though the court will formally sentence al-Delaema April 15. The Netherlands, however, has discretion to change the length of the sentence.

In 2007 al-Delaema pleaded not guilty to attacks on US troops in Fallujah in 2003. The Dutch Ministry of Justice extradited al-Delaema to the United States in 2007 after authorization from a Dutch court based on US promises to try al-Delaema in a federal court rather than by a military commission. Al-Delaema was held in the Netherlands for about two years after the US charged him with attempting to kill US soldiers in 2005. (Jurist, Feb. 27)

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