Iraqi Court Convicts First Westerner Since 2003

Danny Fitzsimons convicted of two counts of murder, one of attempted murder
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Feb 28, 2011 10:15 AM CST
Iraqi Court Convicts First Westerner Since 2003
British security contractor Danny Fitzsimons, center, is escorted out of an Iraqi court, following his sentencing to 20 years in prison, Feb. 28, 2011.   (Karim Kadim)

An Iraqi court today 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, 30, was found guilty of fatally shooting a British and Australian contractor who worked with him in a bar fight, and of attempting to kill an Iraqi guard who spotted him fleeing the scene.

Fitzsimons, who had been facing the death penalty, told the AP 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-defense. His Iraqi lawyer says he will appeal, but added, "This is a very good sentence. I saved him from the gallows." (More Danny Fitzsimons stories.)

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