Al Qaeda militant gets death sentence for murdering Russian embassy staff

An Iraqi court has sentenced to death an Al Qaeda operative who took part in the kidnapping and killing of five Russian citizens in Baghdad back in 2006.

A legal expert told French media in Baghdad that the sentence is based on the anti-terrorism law as well as the charge of abducting and killing five employees of the Russian embassy in Baghdad, Itar-Tass news agency reported.

“That was a malicious crime perpetrated against diplomats, which aimed to force certain countries to close down their embassies in Baghdad – the goal sought by Al Qaeda and other extremist organizations,” the source noted.

According to the agency, Russian Ambassador to Baghdad Valeryan Shuvayev has welcomed the sentence.

"This is the first militant convicted on these charges, and there may be more,” he said.

Shuvayev pointed out that the embassy has asked Iraqi and US authorities to help in the investigation of the crime and in the search for the bodies of the dead.

The kidnapping occurred on June 3, 2006 when several armed men attacked a car carrying Russian embassy employees. Four of the employees were kidnapped and one was killed on the spot.

The Russian Foreign Ministry officially announced the kidnapped embassy workers’ death on June 27, 2006.