UK man gets 20 years for murders in Iraq

2011-02-28 12:00
In this February 20 2011 file photo, Danny Fitzsimons, centre, walks out of a court in Baghdad. (Karim Kadim, AP)

In this February 20 2011 file photo, Danny Fitzsimons, centre, walks out of a court in Baghdad. (Karim Kadim, AP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Baghdad - An Iraqi court on Monday convicted a British man and sentenced him to 20 years in prison over the shooting deaths of two contractors, making him the first Westerner convicted in an Iraqi court since the 2003 US invasion.

Danny Fitzsimons, aged 30, was found guilty in the 2009 fatal shootings of a British and Australian contractor who worked with him and with attempting to kill an Iraqi guard.

Fitzsimons, who had been facing the death penalty, told The Associated Press as he was being led from the courtroom by Iraqi guards that he was happy with the sentence. But when asked whether he thought the trial was fair, he said: "No."

The former security contractor from Rochdale, England, admitted to shooting the men but claimed it was self-defence.

The men had been out drinking and the other two tried to kill him during an altercation, Fitzsimons said during previous testimony. He also claimed to be suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder.

In handing down the verdict, the head judge of the three-judge panel said Fitzsimons' mental condition was taken into consideration when deciding on the sentence.

"Danny Fitzsimons, the court has found established evidence that you killed the two slain men and attempted to kill the third," said the judge.

Saved from the gallows

"So the court issues its sentence according to ... the Iraqi criminal code and sentences you to 20 years in prison," the judge added.

Fitzsimons was accompanied by his Iraqi lawyer, Tariq Harb; his family and British lawyer, who attended a court session last week, were not in attendance.

"This is a very good sentence. I saved him from the gallows," Harb told reporters afterward. Fitzsimons now has 30 days to appeal, which Harb said he would do.

Last week, Fitzsimons' British lawyer, John Tripple, said the family and British authorities were trying to reach an agreement with the Iraqi government to have Fitzsimons transferred to a British prison if he is not given the death penalty.

Harb said that could be possible since the "relations between the two countries are strong now and diplomacy can bear remarkable influence".

A US-Iraqi security pact that took effect on January 1 2009, lifted immunity for foreign contractors, an important development for Iraqis who viewed the security contractors operating in Iraq as reckless and acting with impunity.

A September 2007 shooting in Baghdad involving another security firm, the North Carolina-based Blackwater Worldwide, now known as Xe, left 17 Iraqi civilians dead and galvanised Iraqi authorities to push to lift the immunity.

- AP
Read more on:    iraq
NEXT ON NEWS24X
SHARE:

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
4 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining

Inside News24

 
/Sport

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

Save up to 40% on outdoor accessories!

Tents, sleeping, day packs and more. While stocks last. Shop now!

Month End Madness Sale!

Save up to 60% on across a wide range of goods from books to electronics, DVDs and many more. Sale end 31 January 2015. Shop now!

Valentine’s Day gifts – 14 Feb!

Gifts to spoil him and her. While stocks last. Shop now!

30% off fragrances

Get 30% off fragrances for him and her. While stocks last. Shop now!

Up to 30% off All Textbooks

Save up to 30% off an extensive range of prescribed textbooks for all major universities and FET colleges. Shop Now!

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

It is easy to get bogged down by things today. The Taurus Moon highlights the comforts and pleasures of life. You may have the...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.